Harnessing the power of sport.
The Invictus Games, founded by Prince Harry, bring together a unique band of international competitors to inspire understanding and respect for returned service men and women through the power of sport.
With Sydney set to host the Invictus Games in October 2018, UniSA is proud to join forces with The Repat Foundation – The Road Home to support the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of our returned service men and women through the launch of the Invictus Pathways Program.
This unique collaboration with The Road Home – a leading national veterans’ health and wellbeing research organisation – offers exceptional opportunities to harness the power of sport to support wounded, injured and sick service personnel.
In preparation for Invictus Games selection, this global-first Invictus Pathways Program will provide aspiring competitors with access to a range of allied health services, including:
- baseline physiological testing and profiling;
- training in state-of-the-art facilities;
- support programs, and
- the expertise of UniSA’s leading health professionals and students.
The Invictus Games are about much more than just sport - they capture hearts, challenge minds and change lives, while shining a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women, their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit.
Emily Young, Participant, Invictus Pathways Program
Emily Young is participating in the Invictus Training Program to meet people with a common background and who have had similar experiences.
“The team at UniSA has been very welcoming and accommodating and I’ve been fortunate to work closely with sports scientists in the School of Health Sciences as they help me train for selection for the 2018 Games.
“The Invictus Program is fantastic for veterans’ physical and mental health, which are so closely aligned.”
Brendan Hardman, Participant, Invictus Pathways Program
Brendan Hardman says he’s found a sense of purpose through the program, after he was forced to leave the Army last year and return home with severe back and knee injuries.
“Leaving the Army injured was extremely difficult for me, because I felt like I lost the sense of purpose as I no longer had structure or daily goals to achieve.
“Training in wheelchair basketball through this program is keeping me engaged and is a long term process that I feel will maintain my mental health drive, something no other organisation has been able to provide.”
UniSA Road Home Invictus Pathways Scholarship
The Invictus Pathways Program will provide a fully-funded PhD scholarship to investigate the long-term effect participation has on personnel’s health and wellbeing.
Funded by The Road Home, in partnership with The Hospital Research Foundation, the scholarship provides a unique opportunity to assess the psychological importance and impact on athletes training and competing in the Invictus Games, and their families.
This research is part of the Sansom Institute for Health Research's Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA).
Suzana Freegard, Recipient, UniSA Road Home Invictus Scholarship
Psychology graduate, Suzana Freegard, has extensive experience in health research and is passionate about helping people through her work.
“What attracted me to this project was the personal experiences of the military personnel and veterans who were training for, and competing, in the Games. I found their stories very moving and inspiring.”
Suzana left her home in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s because of the Bosnian War.
“My background has given me an insight into some of the consequences of being in war torn areas, which I believe will be helpful in conducting my study,” she says.
As part of her study, Suzana will attend the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney. You can read more about Suzana on The Road Home website.
Setting the Invictus Games Cycling Squad up for success
A further part of our unique collaboration is our sponsorship and support for the Australian Invictus Games Cycling Squad.
As well as sponsoring the squad’s cycling kit, our staff and students also provided health and exercise related testing and support at the recent cycling camp.
UniSA has provided a state-of-the-art tandem bike for Army Veteran Michael Lyddiard to further his Invictus journey. Lyddiard is former Sergeant and bomb disposal expert who lost his lower right arm, half of his left hand, and his right eye while clearing an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in November 2007. Lyddiard is no quitter. “I want to be an example to my sons, that no matter what happens in life, no matter what challenges come your way, you can’t give up,’’ Lyddiard says. “You have to keep moving forward.’’