The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 inspired the nation and provided a milestone event for veterans around the world, including many Australian veterans, who used the games to forge bonds that would last forever.
As the Games concluded, it’s Veteran Sport Australia that carries this important legacy forward, with the first anniversary of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 also marking the one-year anniversary of this national program run out of RSL NSW.
It’s been a busy 12 months for the VSA team, with a range of pilot projects being run, partnerships launched and veterans and families around the country being supported to improve their health and wellbeing through sport and recreation.
This includes working with a wide range of defence organisations, sporting bodies, various veteran organisations and other government and community organisations. These connections are facilitating as many opportunities as possible for veterans and their families to get involved in their local sporting community.
There’s no doubt that there is a huge role for sport and recreation in supporting our veteran community.
There are more than 600,000 veterans around Australia, with 5,500-6,000 servicemen and women transitioning out of the Australian Defence Force every year – with 18% of members transitioning out for medical reasons. A study using data from 2015 estimated that 46% of ADF members who have transitioned from full-time service within the past five years met 12-month diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder.
“VSA’s a tremendous organisation that’s helping to get the veteran community involved and utilising the power of sport. It was involvement in sport that really helped with my recovery – not just the physical aspect, but the mental aspect,” explains Ben Farinazzo, veteran and Invictus Games Sydney 2018 competitor.
“More important however was the social connection – the ability to get up and get out there and mix with mates and reconnect with people once again. To put it simply, sport is lifesaving.
“I’m really grateful for the work that the RSL has done in establishing VSA following the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. The light that was shone on the healing power of sport through the Invictus Games is still here.”
With the next Invictus Games on the horizon, veteran competitors are already hard at work in training camps across the country prepping for The Hague 2020. Keep an eye on the VSA Facebook page to follow their journey,
If you’re interested in finding out more about opportunities available to veterans and their families in your local community, email firstname.lastname@example.org