A former soldier left unable to walk after being injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan has told how sport helped him rebuild his life.

Dad-of-two Paul Horrobin, 34, of Mirfield, sank into depression after he was medically discharged from the army in 2012.

But the backing of ex-servicemen’s charity Help for Heroes pulled him back from the brink.

Now Paul is heading to New York to compete in the Warrior Games, an international event for wounded or injured service personnel.

Paul, who will compete in wheelchair basketball, rifle and pistol shooting, discus, shot putt and archery, said: “Sport has given me a new focus.

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“It has helped my recovery and has given me something to strive for. I want to push myself to be the best athlete I can possibly be.”

Paul, who played basketball in the army, returned to the sport when Help for Heroes purchased him a £4,000 specially-made competition wheelchair.

That gave him a huge lift and even improved his relationship with his children Chloe, 14, and Nathan, 12.

Injured soldier Paul Horrobin, of Mirfield, practises archery with Mirfield town councillor and local historian David Pinder who is dressed as Robin Hood.

Both his children joined him on the basketball court and he was able to play sport with them for the first time since his injury.

Paul, a bombardier with the now-disbanded 40 Regiment Royal Artillery, was badly injured when he was caught in a blast from improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in September, 2009.

He initially suffered a dislocated hip but there was also spine and nerve damage.

He underwent several operations and had discs removed and a titanium rod inserted in his lower spine.

He has been left with nerve damage and though he can stand he needs a wheelchair to get about. He is in constant pain controlled by a high dose of morphine.

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Paul returned to light duties but was eventually discharged from the army in November, 2012 when it became clear his injuries were permanent.

Paul, whose dad Dave is a Falklands veteran, said he would never forget the day he was discharged from the army and depression set in.

The Royal British Legion eventually persuaded Paul to return to basketball and he found a natural talent.

He tried out for the Invictus Games but wasn’t picked but that put him in pole position for a trip to the West Point Military Academy in New York for the Warrior Games which run from June 15-21.

Competitors have to take part in several events so that meant a great deal of training in other sports.

In April Paul was invited to attend the games but faced a major fundraising challenge. Though the flights and accommodation are paid for, Paul had to fund his equipment costs and travel expenses to London.

Fundraising events have been held in Mirfield and £1,000 was given by Mirfield Round Table.

Injured soldier Paul Horrobin, of Mirfield, at a supermarket charity collection with Mayor of Mirfield Clr Sean Guy.

Paul, married to Michelle, 40, said: “Everybody has been brilliant and all the money has been raised and now I’m helping others with their costs.

“It’s an honour to take part and I just look forward to doing the best I can.”

Paul thinks his future could be in archery and he has got his daughter involved in the sport too.

His next ambition is to aim for the paralympics in 2020.

Mirfield Round Table is right behind Paul and spokesman Karl Ashford said: “Our members recognised the commitment and sacrifice Paul made for his country. We hope to help his paralympic dreams come true.”