A WAR veteran who battled through PTSD and a life-changing injury to win multiple strongman contests is heading to Iceland to defend his world title.

Mark Tonner of Catterick was seriously injured when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010.

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He lost the use of his right arm and also suffered mentally from the traumatic experience.

Through his recovery, aided by Help for Heroes, he found exercise was a helpful way to channel his emotions.

And in recent years the 38-year-old has excelled in competitions and is currently the World's Strongest Disabled Man.

He now plans to head to Iceland to defend his title at the 2021 contest over the weekend of November 13.

Mark, who first got involved in strength competitions after joining the Wounded Highlanders three-years-ago, is confident that he has what it takes to become a two-time world champion.

He said: "I've had lots of competitions in recent months so I'm having to rest a lot more than I normally would - but I'm still going to win.

"I don't want to train too hard and overdo it, I'm doing what I need to do to keep myself ticking over.

"This is my last competition of the year so when I'm there I should be able to work as hard as I can."

Mark already has an impressive record; he is Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man 2021 and holds World Records in Highland Games events.

This year he came second in the renowned Arnold Classic 2021 - and said he only missed out on first place due to struggling with a shoulder strap in one event.

His illustrious record is all the more impressive set against the backdrop of his struggles with PTSD.

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And he has a simple message for anybody struggling with their own mental health: "Ask for help," he said.

"People talk about it, saying things like 'it's OK to be OK' but in my experience and in other people's, the hardest thing about it is to ask for help.

"You keep things stuffed away until someone else sees it.

"Talk to a friend - and if they're a good friend then they will help sort you out."

Mark has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to help cover the costs of his title-defending trip and will donate any excess to the Wounded Highlanders who support injured athletes to compete in the Highland Games.

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