Afghan war vet can hug daughter for first time thanks to 3D-printed bionic arm

A soldier who was seriously injured in Afghanistan can hug his daughter properly for the first time thanks to a new 3D-printed prosthetic arm.

Darren Fuller, 43, lost his right hand and forearm in 2008 when a mortar bomb misfired.

But he’s now experiencing a “new lease of life” after being fitted with a state-of-the-art £10,000 “Hero Arm”.

He said: “I can now do so many of the little things that most people take for granted – I’m so happy.

“I can hug my daughter and play games with her in a way I have never been able to before, it’s amazing.

“There are so many things I’m doing two handed compared to before, and so many things I’m still discovering.

“It’s a really exciting time.”

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The bionic arm also lets him eat with a knife and fork and paint, bake and do crafts with his four-year-old daughter Sky.

Darren, of Colchester, Essex, added: “The functionality is absolutely amazing, I can make the smallest movements with it.

“I’ve tried all sorts of prosthetics over the years and the Bionic Arm is by far and away the best of the lot – it’s absolutely brilliant.

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“I really believe it’s going to improve my life massively.”

The married dad of two, who has an older son, served the Army for 20 years after joining the Parachute Regiment in 1994.

The section commander completed tours in Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Iraq, before being struck by a friendly mortar in Helmand province.

Darren was manning Army weaponry and recalled thinking he was “going to die”.

He said: “I ducked as the mortar went off and then looked down to see half my arm was missing, there was blood everywhere.

“I wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, I was just thinking, ‘will I see my girlfriend and son ever again, will I survive?’”

He said his recovery and learning to use his left hand had been “immensely difficult”.

NHS Veterans’ Prosthetic Panel and limbless veterans’ charity Blesma supported him to buy the prosthetic from Bristol firm Open Bionics.

He said: “Hopefully I’m the first veteran of many to receive a Hero Arm.

“There are many others like me who could really benefit from such an amazing prosthetic.”

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