Garry Robinson named Invictus Australia ambassador

Garry Robinson has found a love of archery since competing in the Invictus Games, and hopes other wounded veterans can experience similar joy in sport. Picture: Chris Lane
Garry Robinson has found a love of archery since competing in the Invictus Games, and hopes other wounded veterans can experience similar joy in sport. Picture: Chris Lane

Getting involved in sport helped Garry Robinson find himself again when he thought all was lost.

The Camden Park resident lost his leg in an horrific Black Hawk crash while serving in Afghanistan, and awoke "pretty broken up" from a coma in the months after the accident.

But his involvement in the very first Invictus Games - an event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel to compete in a range of sports - gave him a drive and community that he had been longing to find again.

Now, Mr Robinson has been named an ambassador for the new Invictus Australia organisation.

Invictus Australia is the new brand for Veteran Sport Australia, and runs in partnership with the Invictus Games to aid veterans to benefit from the recovery power of sport.

The world-first partnership will be focussed on sport recovery and mass participation by veterans and their families.

Robinson is proud to be an ambassador for Invictus Australia.

"I'm one of the only people in the world that's done all four games as a competitor," he said.

"For me, competing in the Invictus Games set up the building blocks for my recovery.

"I'd spent a couple of years in hospital and I had no idea what I could do. I was filled with self doubt that I'd be able to do anything sport-related. I'd been a sportsman before the accident.

"But then I heard about the Invictus Games and within two weeks I was on a plane to London with the family. I competed in archery, swimming and cycling.

"Being around other sick, wounded and injured personnel felt like being at war again - I had that sense of belonging that I'd been missing."

Mr Robinson can't remember any part of the crash that took his leg and the lives of four of his mates. He was hospitalised in several countries before being moved back to Australia, where he woke up at Westmead Hospital.

He had no idea what had happened and was still suffering from a significant brain injury, with trouble retaining memories.

The Invictus Games turned the tide and allowed Mr Robinson to recapture his competitive spirit, and he hopes Invictus Australia will do the same for others in similar positions.

"The power of sport does promote recovery and I'm definitely a perfect example," he said.

"Sport opened so many doors for me, particularly in archery. I've now taken up archery full-time and I just came back from the Czech Republic where I competed for Australia.

"I thought I was totally broken and useless and it was not until I got into that Invictus arena with hundreds, if not thousands, of people just like myself, that I realised I could do twice as much as I thought I could."

Through collaboration with sport, community and veteran organisations, Invictus Australia will deliver more opportunities for veterans and their families to engage in sport from grassroots participation through to international competition.

It will support Team Australia in the Invictus Games in April, to be held in The Hague.