To most, injuries cause physical and mental burden, just as it did for CPL Nehemiah Chai Yong.
As a fitness fanatic, and one who is enthusiastic about exercising, CPL Nehemiah had no problem passing his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). But, during his journey at Specialist Cadet School (SCS), CPL Nehemiah fractured a joint in his left ring finger, causing him to drop out of course. After his injury, he had trouble doing basic tasks like writing (given that he is left handed), and exercising. Dejected, CPL Nehemiah felt that his identity had been stripped away from him.
"I was downcast and went through a series of other feelings like denial and anger when I first heard the diagnosis from my orthopaedic specialist. I was quite irritable then, and my frustration was quite overwhelming. However, things got better after a few months, when I eventually started to accept the reality of my condition."
After posted to 3rd Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (3 SIR) as a Machine Gun Assistant, CPL Nehemiah struggled to complete his daily tasks as a result of the limited function in his dominant hand. However, the support from his commanders, buddies in his unit as well as his family allowed him to push on.
"It was a struggle and I wanted to give up many times. Thankfully, I had people around me who were always supportive, from my friends to family. They had the confidence that I will be able to play sports again one day, and live my life normally. They did not give up on me and I told myself that I must stay strong for them till the end."
Slowly working to recover from his injury and regain his fitness regime, CPL Nehemiah started doing progressive training and eventually, managed to achieve 100 points for his IPPT. "With my injury, I was unable to do a proper pushup and so I worked on the rest of the IPPT stations to upkeep my fitness. For pushups, I started out with the regressed form of the exercise like half pushups and slowly transited to elevated pushups. I would say the unit's training like metabolic, cardio and combat circuits really helped to regain my fitness and achieve the 100 points."
Having almost finished his two years of service, CPL Nehemiah would like to encourage those who are currently in a similar situation as him. "Be realistically optimistic, quickly accept the state you're in because staying in denial will only impede your recovery. Instead of feeling down all the time, start to identify alternatives on what you can do to circumvent the situation. Remember, success is determined by how you handle your setbacks."
Article by: LCP Toh Yew Siang (Army News)