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Heidi Joosten

ADF Service: I joined the Australian Army in 2004 as a Combat Clerk with the Royal Australian Engineers and was promoted to Corporal in 2007. I participated in border protection operations off the coast of northern Australia in 2008/2009 before discharging in 2017. I was a Combat Fitness Leader and enjoyed conducting physical training sessions for my fellow soldiers.

Age: 33

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria

Current town: Townsville, Queensland

Competing in: Athletics and indoor rowing

Heidi Joosten

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

I have neck, shoulder and back injuries from a vehicle accident during a military exercise.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Sport has been important for my rehabilitation and pain management by releasing ‘feel-good’ endorphins that help reduce my perception of pain. Sport has allowed me to feel connected with others in a team environment.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Serving in the Army and competing at the Invictus Games 2018 are my biggest highlights, to date. The Invictus Games has inspired me to study towards a career in rehabilitation to help veterans. I have recently been accepted into university to study a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology. This has given me a positive way forward to retrain and gain another identity.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

Competing at the Invictus Games last year was such a healing and uplifting experience alongside my fellow Australian teammates and competitors from other nations. The social connection was very important to me and I have made lifelong friends.

The Invictus Games has been important for my recovery by helping to assist with my transition and allow me to feel socially connected with other like-minded veterans. The journey to be selected for the Games was hard work but it gave me a purpose and a focus other than my personal battles, which is positive for my physical and emotional health and well-being. The camaraderie of my fellow Invictus Games teammates has allowed me to feel a sense of belonging and be socially connected.

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

Competing in front of my home crowd will be the most amazing feeling and winning would just be the icing on the cake.

The person I most admire is…

My beautiful mother who has been there for me always - through the highs and the lows. She's my rock; she's amazing; and she's the woman who has shaped me into becoming the person I am today.