Today marks the close of The Invictus Games, a series of several athletic competitions in which wounded or injured armed service men and women compete. Started by Prince Harry of England, the first games were held in London in 2014 and the second games are wrapping up today in Orlando, Florida.
These games aren't just about friendly competition; competitions like the Invictus Games aid in holistic healing throughout the recovery and rehabilitation process: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically & socially. The Invictus Games serve as a reminder that there are Service men and women who adapt to a "new normal", long after the Games are over. (source)
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, studies show that adaptive sports provide clear benefits for disabled veterans including less stress, reduced dependency on pain and depression medication, fewer secondary medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension), higher achievement in education and employment and more independence. In the United States alone, there are over 50,000 wounded Service members – which does not include the invisible wounds: PTS, PTSD, and TBIs. The wounded, ill, and injured men and women in uniform around the world will need to live a lifetime of recovery and rehabilitation. But they do not go through the recovery and rehabilitation processes alone; their families are greatly impacted and everyone must adjust to a “new normal” in their daily activities and lifestyle. (source)
It's easy to take for granted the freedom we all enjoy and, perhaps for some, even easier to forget that there are men and women out there every day fighting to maintain that freedom for us. The Invictus Games bring to light the reminder that the heroes who come back from fighting for our country, and those of our allies, may need our support and help to return to civilian life. For some the sacrifice literally may have been an arm and a leg, for others their alignment isn't as visible but is just as real. May we never take for granted the sacrifices these men and women make for us and our country.
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