The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. The Invictus Games pulls together the wounded, injured and ill Service members to show that the power of sport can heal wounds that lie deeper than the skin. The public can often believe service members can only be injured physically but these games show the horrific and heartbreaking stories that damage these warriors mentally as well.
In 2013, Prince Harry went on a trip to the Warrior Games held in the USA. He saw in front of his eyes that the power of sport was overcoming medical hurdles and giving service men and women a clear mind, not overcome with horror and despair. He decided that London would hold the first ever Invictus Games, a sporting event for all wounded service men and women-both active and veteran.
Competitors in the Invictus Games are people who have put their lives on the line and suffered life changing injuries, mental and physical. The games in London provided four days of sport but was about much much more than that. These games captured the hearts of the nation, challenged unused minds and changed the lives of so many people.
In 2014 UK won every single team sport in the competition sending out a massive message to the British public and building lives back up again. Last week in Orlando, the 2016 Invictus Games took place with 500 injured men and women participating. That number is only a representation of tens of thousands of Service members around the world who suffer from wounds and injuries both visible and invisible.
The sport in the four days of competition (8-12 May) was staggering. With 10 different sporting events on offer including Weelchair tennis and Archery, there was plenty to choose from. In the Tennis, the UK beat New Zealand 6-1 in the final while in the swimming, UK managed to have a competitor in the top two in 7 out of 8 races while USA won 2 races. The sitting Volleyball concluded with a thrilling final in which the USA beat the UK in 3 sets and the Weelchair Rugby was also won by the USA. In the final event Weelchair Basketball, USA were trying to complete what UK had done two years prior, win all team events. In a thrilling final against the UK the Americans edged it to end the Games in style.
This Invictus Games has shone a light on the injuries Army life can cause not just visibly but invisibly too. Prince Harry asked questions about why Service members don’t get the sympathy they deserve and the answer is no one has done anything about it. Now someone has and the whole world has recognised the effects of Army injuries and why we should acknowledge them.