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Steve James

ADF Service: I joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1990 and was medically discharged in 2001. I spent the majority of my career as a Maritime Warfare Officer working at strategic, operational and tactical levels at sea and ashore, both nationally and internationally.

Age: 48

Home town: A farm near Wallabadah in rural New South Wales

Current town: Perth, Western Australia

Competing in: Athletics, wheelchair basketball, cycling, indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby

Steve James

What is the nature of your injury or illness?

When boarding a vessel at sea, I was hit from behind and fell several metres, landing on my face and chest. This hyper-extended my spine, breaking several vertebrae and rupturing many discs. Twenty-eight procedures later, I have chronic pain and neurological issues with my neck, back, left arm and both legs.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Before my accident I was a particularly sporty person. Unfortunately, primarily due to pain, I was inactive for many years. I foolishly believed adaptive sports were for people in wheelchairs. Once I was exposed to the adaptive sports program I realised I was welcome and adaptive sports are really inclusive and supportive. Playing sport again has really helped with my physical and mental wellbeing.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Being a member of the team which was awarded the National Speleological Society (USA) Cave Diving Section - Exploration Award for caving in the Kija Blue Sinkhole (Kimberly region of Western Australia) in 2007.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games?

I felt my sporting and community service story had more to it and, after being inspired by Invictus Games Toronto 2017, I applied.

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

To be happy, useful and compassionate, helping others and making a difference to those who can relate to my story. Also want those who care about me to feel a sense of pride in what they have helped me achieve.

The person I most admire is...

There is no one person I admire above others. My parents, June and Greg, are the two people to who I owe everything. I admire them deeply. They taught me patience, self-sufficiency and resilience and are the embodiment of love, hard work, emotional stability and dedication. They, along with my wife Louise, have never given up on me - even when I felt I had no worth.