Dan ‘PDRL World Champion’ Phillips

Dan Phillips has recently left is role in the military but he has led a life that many people in rugby league would not have thought imaginable

Dan grew up in Warrington and has played rugby league in mini league from an early age and the sport has always been in his blood. Dan joined the military in 2009 when he was aged 19 years and during his time met and married and is the proud father of three children.

Dan’s life took a different run when in July 2014 he was injured in a road traffic accident and the decision was taken to amputate his right leg in February 2015. He was transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey from May 2015.

Dan attended the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride in New York City on a hand bike in June 2015 and the rehabilitation process led to Dan being able to walk on a prosthetic leg unaided by July 2015. Dan began running on a blade by October 2015 and embarked on accessing counselling for night terrors and intense mood swings and he was first told about possibly experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dan attended the Gradual Reintroduction to Work (GROW) programme. He was cleared to return to full time work in March 2016.

Dan competed in Wounded Warrior Games in 2016 which was held at West Point in New York and returned to his unit in July 2016. He then competed in the British Para Triathlon Championship in 2016 winning his class and then competed in the Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017.

Dan returned to rugby league when he started playing with Warrington Wolves Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team from its inception in early 2018 and during a game, he ruptured everything in the stump which resulted in having more of his leg removed. Unfortunately, this coincided with a return of the night terrors returned and mood swings dramatically increased. Dan returned to counselling and was officially diagnosed with PTSD.

Dan competed in the PDRL World Club Challenge Match in Sydney and also played at Redfern Oval and returned back to unit life in September 2018 and due to the injury was found to be medically unfit to work in the military from May 2019. Dan underwent targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) surgery to improve the control of upper limb prostheses in September 2019.

Dan has retired from the PDRL playing roster and moved into the backroom staff and also started playing wheelchair rugby for Warrington Wolves. Dan started Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for PTSD in 2020.

State of Mind are amazed at the story of tragedy and injury to becoming a World Champion in the space of seven years. He was medically discharged on the 7th January this year and who knows what amazing things this outstanding individual will achieve next.