Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023
5 Min read
Tom Folwell is one of the contributors to the Heart of Invictus documentary series, launched online August 30th.
Former sapper in the army, Tom Folwell competed at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, captaining Team UK’s wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball squads, as well as competing in sitting volleyball.
Tom served in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015, losing both his legs in a bomb blast whilst on foot patrol in Helmand Province. Standing on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) left Tom with life-changing injuries and brought his career to an end. The situation worsened as medics, headed for Birmingham, had to stop off in Cyprus so that they could tend to a blood clot that Tom had subsequently developed.
Since then, Tom’s recovery has also involved battling with sleep apnoea which developed as a result of the injury. This had a serious impact on his wellbeing but gave rise to his renewed appreciation for sport, in particular an interest in Wheelchair Rugby.
Beyond the Invictus Games, the Invictus Games Foundation also offers opportunities for recovery through sport and adventurous challenge, facilitated by the platform We Are Invictus. Not only has Tom competed in the Invictus Games but he has also taken part in virtual activities such as the Powered by Invictus Sitting Volleyball leagues. These opportunities helped to reinvigorate him, reminding him of how important it is to keep learning and improving.Find out more
Darrell Ling is one of the contributors to the Heart of Invictus documentary series, launched online August 30th.
He joined the Navy as a marine electrician, serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) between 1986 and 1992. His involvement in various military responses over this time, including the Swissair flight 111 crash and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, had a major impact on Darrell’s mental health. In 2016, he was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress and major depressive disorder.
Darrell's injuries contributed to further isolation and eventually homelessness. Determined to put his life back together, he reached out to other veterans in Canada with whom he was able to build meaningful bonds.
This eventually led him to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, where he successfully took part in the archery, indoor rowing and wheelchair basketball.
Beyond the Invictus Games, the Invictus Games Foundation also offers opportunities for recovery through sport and adventurous challenge, facilitated by the platform We Are Invictus. Darrell has taken part in numerous We Are Invictus opportunities, including several virtual London Marathons and the IGF Powered by Invictus virtual Rowing league. Having experienced the benefits of competing, first hand, he now feels passionate about inspiring others to see sports as a path to recovery.Find out more
Gabriel (Gabe) George is one of the contributors to the Heart of Invictus documentary series, launched online August 30th.
Gabe, also known as ‘the One-Armed Archer’, joined the U.S Navy in 2004 having trained as a corpsman. He spent two years on ship and served behind the wire at Guantanamo Bay.
In April 2008, he was hit by a driver whilst riding his motorbike. After spending three weeks in a coma, Gabe was left with a traumatic brain injury, spinal damage and a paralysed right arm, which required amputation. After the accident, Gabe realised he could still engage in sports, including archery. He learned how to use a device which allowed him to fire a bow by pulling the string with his teeth and went on to compete at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 as part of the Team US archery, swimming and indoor rowing teams.
Despite his numerous serious injuries, Gabe maintains a positive outlook on life and is involved with various organisations, focused on helping other wounded veterans.
Vicki is is one of the contributors to the Heart of Invictus documentary series, launched online August 30th.
Former Warrant Officer, Victoria (Vicki) Ross, won gold in indoor rowing at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020. She also competed as part of Team UK’s Wheelchair Rugby team, securing silver after being narrowly beaten by the USA.
Vicki experienced a number of injuries during her time in the Army, including nerve damage, shoulder impingement and knee surgery, all of which left her with acute anxiety. Feeling physically, mentally and emotionally challenged, her journey to the Invictus Games gave her a new focus. It allowed her to explore her potential within an unfamiliar environment and ultimately rediscover the person she once was.
Beyond the Invictus Games, the Invictus Games Foundation also offers opportunities for recovery through sport and adventurous challenge, facilitated by the platform We Are Invictus. Vicki has also competed in various Powered by Invictus virtual leagues such as cycling, rowing and sitting volleyball.
Brooke Mead enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 18, and soon after, she was deployed to Operation Resolute, taking part in missions to recover the bodies of asylum seekers.
Unfortunately, her career in the Armed Forces was cut short when she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and experienced a spinal cord injury, leading to her medical discharge.
However, Brooke’s most challenging battles lay ahead of her and in an effort to enhance her physical and mental well-being, she turned to sports, recognising the need for a goal.
In May 2021 she applied to compete at the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, hoping to find purpose and motivation through competition. Since then, Brooke has shed 50 kilograms and rehabilitated her spinal cord injury so well that they recently removed her spinal cord stimulator.
During her ongoing recovery, Brooke has discovered a passion for supporting fellow veterans, promoting sports as a catalyst for healing and she finds deep fulfilment in motivating others on their journey towards healing.
Find out more