ADF Service: I joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1987 and discharged in 2007.
I deployed to Iraq in 2003 and worked for the USN (United States Navy) Destroyer Squadron 50 (Comdesron50). I also deployed to Iraq in 2005 and worked on training the then new Iraqi Navy.
Hometown: Adelaide, South Australia
Current town: Adelaide, South Australia
Competing in: Cycling and indoor rowing
What is the Nature of your injury or illness?
I sustained physical injuries to my knee, back and hip through my service, as well as mental injuries of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
Just after being re-tasked in 2004, we lost two USN and one USCG (United States Coast Guard) sailors during an attack on the oil platforms off the coast of Iraq.
As the Operation Chief at the time, I often wondered if I could have done more to have seen or prevent the attack from occurring, and I continue to have nightmares about the event.
What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?
Sport, particularly cycling, has played a major role in my rehabilitation. After leaving the ADF I started drinking heavily and eating poorly. I fell into deep depression and gained a large amount of weight, tipping the scales at 128kgs.
My mate Darren Morris encouraged me to get on a bike and cycling helped me to lose weight, regain fitness and refocus. It hasn’t always been an easy ride, but sport has definitely helped my anxiety, given me space and time to process my thoughts, and assisted me to keep moving forward.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
My children Rebeka, Jackson, Sean and Ethan are, without doubt, my greatest personal achievements. Even though we are often far apart and not always in contact, they are always in my heart and thoughts.
Being awarded my Submarine Dolphins in 1997 was definitely my proudest military achievement.
Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?
For a number of reasons, I was not successful in my bid for the last Invictus Games. I spent 12 months reflecting and training and then decided to apply for Invictus Games 2018. I have developed more resilience and proven to myself and my family that I can pick myself up and try again.
The Games will also provide me with the opportunity to be part of a team and to experience the camaraderie and teamwork that I have missed so much since discharging in 2007.
What will “winning” look like for you at these Games?
Training hard and participating at my best. It will be the opportunity to share this experience with my amazing partner, who has been a great support over the last few years, and giving my kids a proud memory of their Dad.
The person I most admire is…
There are a few people I admire, especially those who are competing in the Games. I’ve been extremely lucky to have met and come to know many of them and their stories continually encourage me to keep fighting on and moving forward, especially in sport.
However, the person I admire most is my partner Kylie. She is an amazing mum to five awesome children who she has raised mostly on her own, and in some pretty difficult circumstances.
Over the past few years Kylie has been there for me every step of the way. Last year I ended up in a very dark place and attempted to take my life.
It was an extremely scary time for me and our family and she had to make the difficult but necessary decision to involve outside people, to ensure I was safe and get the help I needed. If it wasn’t for this intervention, I could not confidently say that I would be here today.