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    Comradery the real star of the Invictus Games

    Comradery the real star of the Invictus Games

    Courtesy Photo | Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Brandi Evans (right) and Royal Air Force Corporal Naomi Adie...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Army Recovery Care Program

    Comradery the real star of the Invictus Games
    By Christopher Fields, Warrior Care and Transition

    SYDNEY – The bright lights and ferocity of competition took center stage at the 2018 Invictus Games. The high-level Paralympic style competition for wounded, ill and injured service members from 18 allied nations around the world is an experience in itself for anyone witnessing it. Fans of all ages, friends and family pack the stands of venues to cheer and support the athletes similar to other big sporting events. However, there’s another element to the Invictus Games, unique to this event and what many who attend and compete appreciate and value far more than anything else, and that’s the comradery.

    “The Invictus Games are not just about competing, they’re about family,” said U.S. Army retired Staff Sgt. Megan Palko. “It’s not about who won, it’s that we ALL finished. We’re here pushing through pain and encouraging each other to keep going. It means so much to me to see someone who has overcome something life-changing and do something they thought they couldn’t do again or do at all in the first place.”

    There were several examples to illustrate Palko’s point and HRH Duke of Sussex mentioned many during the closing ceremony as he spoke about the “Invictus Generation” and the “Invictus Family” during his remarks. One example involved retired U.S. Army Sgt. Brandi Evans, who encouraged Team United Kingdom’s Naomi Adie, a corporal survival equipment fitter in the Royal Air Force, throughout their 1500 meter wheelchair race and helping her earn a bronze medal.

    “It doesn’t matter what country you come from, everyone is bonded and it takes someone special to do what Brandi did,” Adie said. “[The Invictus Games] isn’t about medals, it’s about supporting each other. It’s about friendship and setting examples. Sports may have changed my life, but Brandi changed my world.”

    The brotherhood of service members is special, but the brotherhood between wounded, ill and injured service members is even more unique. They have been through the worst of times between their injury or illness, their recovery and figuring out “what’s next,” and most people simply cannot truly understand how they feel. That is not the case at the Invictus Games. Here, everyone has a chance to get that feeling of being a part of a team again and something bigger than themselves.

    “When you’re away from the military you don’t feel whole; there’s something missing,” said Matt Payne, who first served in the Australian Army before transitioning into the Australian Navy as Leading Seaman. “The comradery you have here with mates from all over can never be replaced by anything else.”

    U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan McIntosh also appreciates the service connection between competitors that exists at the Invictus Games. “Invictus Games to me is all about the comradery and brotherhood. You can get in a group, no matter what country people are from, and have that common bond of service. Here, you can talk about the battlefield, sports, life and be more of yourself.”

    Since the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014, thousands of wounded, ill and injured service members, their friends and family have come together thanks to the power of sport and the Invictus spirit. Now, at the conclusion of the fourth Invictus Games, that spirit has born the Invictus Generation and created an Invictus Family that spans from Australia to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.

    “The bond of being here transcends borders. Many of us have been deployed to war zones and now we are here at the Invictus Games and that helps us get connected to each other through sports, not just battle,” said Danish Army Lance Corporal Morton Bach Jensen of Team Denmark whose sentiment was echoed by retired U.S. Army Maj. Christina Truesdale.

    “At the core of everything we are all human beings and it’s interesting to interact with others who are on similar journeys. Although you may not speak the same language, there is a respect and understanding that brings us together,” said Truesdale.

    Not every athlete won a medal during the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, but the comradery and friendship they experienced will give those athletes memories and bonds that will last a lifetime.

    Invictus may be Latin for unconquered, but thanks to the Invictus Games it has come to mean even more to wounded, ill and injured service members across the globe. The event itself is the embodiment of unconquered love, unity, friendship and family brought together by the power of sport, and there is no other event like it in the world.

    The Invictus Family will come together again for the next Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands in May 2020.



    Date Taken: 10.31.2018
    Date Posted: 10.31.2018 07:49
    Story ID: 298352
    Location: SYDNEY, NSW, AU 

    Web Views: 2,037
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