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David Connolly CSC

ADF Service: I joined the Army in 1982 and discharged in 2003.

The majority of my service was with 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) and Parachute Training School (PTS). I was deployed to the Middle East in a peacekeeper role in 1995. I completed all parachute instructor courses and became the Wing Sergeant Major (PTS) and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC).

Age: 55

Hometown: Liverpool, New South Wales

Current town: Mena Creek, Queensland

Competing in: Wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby

David Connolly CSC

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

I completed around 2000 parachute descents, which took a toll on my body - specifically my knees - to the point that a knee replacement was required. The knee replacement failed and, after three attempts, infection had set in and amputation was necessary. I am now an above-knee amputee.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

After my leg was amputated, I suffered from depression and was fortunate to be selected for the first Invictus Games in London in 2014. Playing sport with other military and ex-military suffering the same - if not worse injuries than mine - rekindled my competitiveness. Training to excel at a sport with a disability is hard and requires focus and commitment. This keeps my mind active and gives me a sense of achievement and purpose. After London, I returned to Australia and joined the local wheelchair basketball team.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Having the privilege and ability to be selected for two previous Invictus Games and to make the Games in Sydney at the age of 55.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

After attending the Invictus Games in London and Orlando, training became a part of my weekly routine, leading up to a main event. It is satisfying to strive for a goal. In the ADF you are a part of a team and you always strive to better yourself. However, after discharge, all this dissipates and is amplified when faced with a disability. It is great to be able to compete with and against people who are at your level, suffering disabilities you can relate to.

What will “winning” look like for you at these Games?

Winning would be the pinnacle of all the hard training I have completed up to now. However, being there and competing, regardless of the result, I have already won by being eligible for the Games. It does not matter whether you win or lose, it is about the spirit of how you play the game.

The person I most admire is…

Paralympic Gold medallist Riley Batt OAM (Order of Australia), due to his achievements - regardless of his disabilities - and the skills he has on the wheelchair rugby court.