Chris OBrien

ADF Service: I joined the Australian Army in 2002 and became an Artillery Officer in December 2005. I served 13 years in the full-time Army, including two deployments to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010.

Age: 37

Home town: Gold Coast, Queensland

Current town: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Competing in: Wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and swimming

What is the nature of your injury or illness?

I had five surgeries on my knees during (and shortly after) my service.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Sport has always been a huge part of my life, and my ability to participate in it the traditional way is no longer possible due to my injuries. Adaptive sports has given me an opportunity to reconnect with that part of my life and find the enjoyment in training and competing again.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

It’s a dead heat between being given the opportunity to lead soldiers in uniform and now representing Australia at Invictus Games The Hague 2020.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games?

As a long time swimmer I’ve always enjoyed competing. On my way home from my second deployment in Afghanistan, I was a first responder to a fatal accident. Afterwards, I found that swimming triggered some mental health concerns and I avoided the water. When I revealed this to close family and friends, I was encouraged to consider applying for Invictus Games The Hague 2020 as a way of gradually reconnecting with my sporting past and working through those issues.

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

Being selected to compete in the Australian uniform alongside such an amazing group of people is a victory in its own right. ‘Winning’ to me will be about staying present in that environment and giving everything I have to show the people who have helped me on my journey how much their support means and how grateful I am for the opportunity.

The person I most admire is...

My late grandfather, Victor. Humble, clever and generous to a fault, he’s the most incredible man I’ve had the fortune of knowing and spending time with.