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Jaguar Land Rover puts the freeze on wounded soldier-athletes [w/video]

Mon, 21 Jul 2014

For athletes, the cold is often a powerful ally in treating injures, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) a popular means of treating muscle pulls, bruising and other common forms of discomfort. Did you know, though, that frosty temps are also popular tools for simply recovering from a rough training session?

Well, we're guessing Jaguar Land Rover knew that, as the British company was kind enough to loan out its climactic testing chamber to Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington, a pair of veterans wounded in their service to Queen and Country. Van Gass, a former private in the Royal Army, and Darlington, a Royal Marine, are attempting to earn a spot on the British Armed Forces cycling team for the upcoming Invictus Games.

The Games, inspired by the Warrior Games held in the United States, are a sporting competition reserved for injured servicemen and women, either active duty or veterans, and is slated to take place from September 10 to 14 in London's former Olympic venues. Van Gass lost his left arm below the elbow after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (he also suffered from a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, severe shrapnel and blast wounds, a broken tibia and a fractured knee). Darlington, meanwhile, suffered a traumatic brain injury during action in Afghanistan, and he now suffers from weakness in his right side and cognitive issues.

As for why a pair of cyclists opted to take the military lingo "stay frosty," to its literal extreme, it's all because of cryotherapy. As explained in the video, full-body cryotherapy is an increasingly popular form of recovery training for professional athletes, as it forces the body to saturate the blood with powerful (and natural) endorphins, which can alleviate the stress and strain from training. That means quicker recovery times and, consequently, more training for athletes like van Gass and Darlington.

Scroll down to see the pair in action, as they prepare for the 2014 Invictus Games.

Jaguar Land Rover Helps Invictus Games Hopefuls With Sub-Zero Therapy Session

Two wounded warriors in training for September's Invictus Games benefited from a cryotherapy recovery session at the Jaguar Land Rover cold climate test chamber in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover and championed by Prince Harry, is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women taking place in London from 10-14 September 2014.

Jaguar Land Rover is an Official Partner of the 2014 Invictus Games and is committee to exploring ways to enhance the valuable role of veterans as skilled employees, as a way of creating a lasting legacy for the Games.

Gaydon, UK, Friday 18th July 2014 - Two wounded Servicemen in training for The Invictus Games benefited from a -40°C cryotherapy recovery session at Jaguar Land Rover's cold climate test chamber following an arduous 40km cycling training ride on one of the hottest days of the year.
The two hopefuls - Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington - are aiming to qualify for the British Armed Forces cycling team and were given access to Jaguar Land Rover's temperature testing facility - usually reserved for testing cars in the most extreme temperatures.

Under the supervision of trained sports therapists and the watchful eye of Jaguar Land Rover engineers, the two brave warriors were chilled by external temperatures as low as -40°C in a form of medical therapy known as cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy is widely used in professional sport, with top athletes regularly using the practice as a way of aiding muscle repair after exercise and speeding recovery from injury.

Both Jaco and Luke, who were injured in action, are hoping that this unique training opportunity and rapid recovery session will help to give them the edge in the competitive selection process for the Invictus Games which will see 400 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, serving and veteran, competing at former London Olympic venues this September.

Former Private Jaco van Gass, lost his left arm at the elbow whilst serving in Afghanistan. He comments, "With around 50 days to go until the Games, and even less until the final selection process is taking place, I'm using every spare moment to get some invaluable training under my belt. Thanks to this unique training opportunity from Jaguar Land Rover I'm hopeful that my selection chances have been boosted and that I've reached my fitness peak."

Royal Marine Luke Darlington is also fighting for his place in the team. During his tour of Afghanistan in 2011 Luke suffered a Penetrating Brain Injury with retained shrapnel, which resulted in right sided weakness, cognitive deficits and foot drop. He explains, "There's a real buzz building around the Invictus Games with those hoping to compete putting in the long hours to make sure we're top of our game. Being part of the Invictus Games will be a real honour and I'm doing everything I can to fight for my place in the team."

Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, said, "Jaguar Land Rover is immensely proud to be enabling these Invictus Games. We have been inspired by the passion with which Prince Harry has championed this visionary idea, to celebrate the commitment and achievements of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel. In addition, we're exploring with the Royal Foundation and the Ministry of Defence innovative ways of enhancing their employment prospects and those of other Service personnel when moving into civilian life, to create a lasting legacy from the Games."

Sir Keith Mills, Invictus Games Chairman, said, "The Invictus Games are edging ever closer and it's great to see our British Armed Forces hopefuls really stepping up a gear to get into shape. As the team looks to take on tough competition, it's great to have been given access to the Jaguar Land Rover testing facility to help the team reach their very best."

The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, which will take place in London from 10-14 September 2014.

The Invictus Games are being organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. It will see more than 400 wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, serving and veteran, competing in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, thanks to the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

By Brandon Turkus

See also: Take a trip down Jaguar's memory lane with Xcar, Jaguar confirms XE reveal for September 8, Jaguar Land Rover offers (some) detail about new Ingenium engine.