Meet The Captain Of Australia's Wheelchair Basketball Team
There was an extra-hyped workout going on at a Bondi F45 today.
Non-for-profit Outback Academy teamed up with the Invictus Games to host an all-abilities workout, where past and current Invictus Games competitors, Paralympians, and locals joined forces to break a sweat.
The energy in the room was electric.
On one side of the room you had Brendan Hardman, a returned veteran, pumping out his repetitions.
While on the other side, Sarah Stewart and Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy, two former Paralympic medallists, were absolutely killing it.
If you haven't heard of the Invictus Games, it's is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and ill service men and women, both active duty and veteran.
Founded by Prince Harry, the Games are a celebration and an ode the healing power of sport.
Brendan Hardman can attest to that power. A seven-year veteran, Hardman returned home with a severe back injury and like many veterans, it was the beginning of a new battle.
After numerous back surgeries and years of rehabilitation, Hardman fell victim to opioid addiction.
Spending about about three-and-a-half years on the medication, Hardman says his rehab only really began once he kicked the pills.
“I struggled a lot with mental health, I suffered pretty badly from depression and anxiety, and PTSD,” he said.
Hardman speaks with with such frank honesty. He told of how he almost took his own life, which sparked his road to recovery.
Aided by his wife, and sport, Hardman bounced back and is set to captain Australia this weekend at the Invictus Games.
“It’s about trying to be an inspiration to the thousands of veterans out there struggling at the moment, to get off the couch, get out of the house, and achieve again,” Hardman said.
But what makes the upcoming Games so special is the competitors -- the men and women who have fought through adversity and hardships many of us couldn’t fathom.
“You understand that there are so many people out there worse off than you, we’ve got people in our team missing both legs, missing one leg, paraplegics, guys suffering from PTSD and you can’t see it from the outside but you know the wound is there on the inside.”
The Invictus Games Opening Ceremony is next Saturday, and runs for a week across Sydney.
Groups like Outback Academy, who do amazing work in rural Australia, will be bringing along children with disabilities to see that it’s not about what you can’t do. It's about what you can do
And that’s the spirit of the Invictus Games. The unconquered spirit.
Featured image: Jacob Shields
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