Strictly star JJ Chalmers has revealed that 'should be in a box in the ground' after injuries he sustained in Afghanistan.
The 33-year-old TV presenter is now a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing but he has such an inspiring story from his past as a veteran in the Royal Marines.
Speaking to The Sun, JJ spoke about his experience being injured when one of his fellow Royal Marine stepped on an explosive device in Helmand, Afghanistan.
His colleagues Marine Sam Alexander and Lt Ollie Augustin, and an Afghan interpreter were killed, while he suffered from two lost fingers, a disintegrated right elbow, a crushed eye socket, and burst eardrums.
JJ recalled: "I remember in one of my earliest physio sessions being asked to stand on my tiptoes and I was so weak that I couldn't even do that.
"At that point you really do begin to question yourself and the first time I looked at myself in a mirror head to toe, I was shocked at the damage that had been done to my body."
He continued: "I burst into tears, but it was tears at the shock of what I was seeing.
"It was also the huge realisation of how close I came to going the other way, especially when you know that that’s the case for a couple of my friends — that actually, as bad as it is, it’s still better than the alternative.
"I should be in a box in the ground but I’m not, so you’ve got that driving you."
However, the veteran spoke about how much the experience changed him and reinvigorated him.
"Getting blown up is the expressway to perspective and being able to not take things for granted," said JJ.
He added: "So you can come into whatever challenges in life and you can apply that, whether you let things pull you down or build you up."
JJ went on to compete in the Invictus Games after 30 operations - some being 12 hours long - and went on to win a Gold and two Bronze medals.
He subsequently became friends with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and went on to present for the 2016 Paralympic Games.
The star very much credits his success to the Armed Forces’ national rehabilitation centre, Headley Court.
On Saturday, JJ is due to dance with his partner Amy Dowden on Strictly, with his first dance being the waltz.
However, the central concern from those around JJ is what will happen if he falls during a routine.
He added: "There are broken bones held together by metal and the goodwill of surgeons, essentially!
"If it hits the ground in the wrong way, the consequences could be catastrophic."
We are hoping for the very best for JJ as he embraces the world of dance!
Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday night at 7.25pm on BBC One.