Team Australia at the Invictus Games
The Australian Defence Force has nearly 60,000 active personnel and a further 40,000 active and standby reserve forces. While small, it remains the largest military in Oceania. Australian troops were part of the original coalition of nations to send troops to Iraq in 2003. Team Australia is delivered by the Australian Defence Force in partnership with Invictus Australia - a legacy organisation founded after their hosting of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
It was amazing. Because the event was in my home country then, a lot of family members and friends naturally came. That was a huge help, it’s great when you feel supported.
Vanessa Broughill Sydney 2018 & The Hague 2020 Competitor
- Competed at 5 Games
- 223 Total Competitors
- Host of Sydney 2018
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.
Through the Invictus Games Foundation, I have connected with a supportive community and embarked on an Invictus Adventure that challenged me physically and unearthed newfound inner resilience."
Selected to compete at the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023.
Indoor Rowing, Powerlifting, and Table Tennis.
Took part in the Invictus Adventure to compete at the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Championships.
Feels that she re-discovered herself on her journey to the Invictus Games.
Supported on her journey by her husband and son
Vanessa Broughill was struggling with her mental health for a long time and she always struggled to pinpoint what exactly was the answer to her issues and seemed to accept the fact that life just threw a lot of challenges at her.
She is the fourth generation of her family to join the Australian Military and loved the adventure it provided.
"My favourite memories are the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, where the ocean stretches out from the boat as far as the eye can see. And the swimming stations, where we stopped in the middle of the ocean to jump off and have a swim."
Vanessa became accustomed to the rigid routine of military life and found it difficult to mentally adjust to civilian life and a recurring shoulder injury began to cause her serious pain.
She labelled herself as "crippled" by her anxiety and depression but credits her selection for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, as the catalyst for the change that she needed on her recovery journey.
Now, she has competed at two Games in front of her friends and family, including her husband Craig and three children and has found the balance her life needed and is encouraging others to open up and share their stories.
Invictus gave me a reason to leave the house. It gave me a reason to overcome my anxiety and socialise. It gave me a reason to go to the gym. And in turn, I’ve been able to show my three children and my husband that I can be strong again."
Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and The Hague 2020
Athletics, Cycling, Powerlifting and Swimming
Served in the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy, and Navy Reserves
Wants others to share their stories of recovery
Followed in the footsteps of her parents, grandparents and great grandparents in joining the military.
Pushing the boundaries
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For me being around other competitors at the Invictus Games, I was at home again.
Garry Robinson London 2014, Orlando 2016, Toronto 2017 & Sydney 2018 Competitor