December 2018 Comrades In Arms
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The Invictus Games – brainchild of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex – brings together wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel from around the world in a celebration of sport. The nature of the injuries suffered by some of the competitors brings the very real prospect of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the fore.
So when Wheelchair Tennis competitor Paul Guest was mid-match in Sydney, the sound of a nearby helicopter suddenly triggered his PTSD and he feared the worst.
However, his doubles partner Edwin Vermetten immediately realised his team mate was in trouble, but what he did next was unexpected. “I took him by the face and said: ‘Look at me. We are a team so let it go.’” Together they then sang “Let It Go” from the Disney film “Frozen.”
Vermetten’s quick-thinking enabled Guest to regain his composure and complete the match alongside Vermetten. The incident, although brief, summed up what the Invictus Games is about – and demonstrated the deep bond between competitors.
As Guest said himself, “When we are here, it’s one of those things, you don’t go up to somebody and say, ‘what happened to you then?’ Nobody cares. These guys don’t see disabilities, they just make us feel welcome all the time.”