Veteran David hopes to be in UK team for Invictus Games

David Dent hopes to qualify for the Invictus Games
David Dent hopes to qualify for the Invictus Games

Disabled Law veteran David Dent is hoping to qualify for a place in the Invictus Games in Toronto this September.

He met HRH Prince Harry, who is a patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, as he took part in trials for a place.

The games trials are open to serving and veteran servicemen and women who are using sport as part of their recovery, and who hope to be selected as part of the 90-strong UK team.

More hopefuls than ever – 306 - have applied to take part in the 2017 Invictus Games.

Help for Heroes is is leading the work to train, select and develop the team for the Invictus Games.

David, aged 50, uses a wheelchair after suffering two injuries while serving as a front-line trauma specialist with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

He joined the army in 1990 after training as a specialist intensive care nurse, working at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

He was first injured in Bosnia in 1994 during a missile attack. He initially thought he had suffered a shrapnel injury to his back and torso but, a few years down the line, it emerged he had undergone a serious blast traumatic brain injury.

He was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive disease found in people who have suffered a severe blow to the head.

David was later injured in Belfast while trying to rescue a casualty from a dangerous situation.

David, a Help for Heroes ambassador, competed at the 2015 Warrior Games.

He took part in the 2017 Invictus Games trials in cycling, rowing and discus.

He said: “The trials were great. It was lovely to see everybody again and be back in this environment and there’s nothing like a good bit of hard exercise.

“To be selected would be brilliant - it’s been my dream since I saw it in London.

“These guys are your friends and family and to have that kind of support and people around you is just brilliant.

“Sport is massively important for my recovery.

“It’s lifesaving in more than one way, definitely.”

And he added: “Sport is almost like meditation, when I’m doing my training for rowing for example.

“Physically if you have a condition like I do that deteriorates, it helps keep you where you are and helps prevent some of that deterioration that gives you a better quality of life.”

David would encourage anyone else thinking of signing up for the trials for the games to go ahead.

“I train with people with severe disabilities, mental health problems, learning difficulties and there’s encouragement and benefit for anybody,” he said.

The Invictus Games set out to harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

The UK team will be selected based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.

Hopefuls had the opportunity to take part in 11 sports at the trials, including athletics, archery, road cycling, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball and wheelchair tennis.

Jayne Kavanagh, Chef De Mission for the UK team, said: “The legacy of the Invictus Games is clear to see through the fact that more than 300 hopefuls are vying for their place on the team.

“The Invictus Games in London and Orlando demonstrated how powerful sport is as a means of rebuilding confidence as well as aiding physical and mental recovery.

“It is brilliant to see how the success of the first and second Invictus Games has not only supported the recovery of those who took part but also inspired so many others to rebuild their lives through sport.”

Continued training will take place across the country at recovery centres and other venues as part of Help for Heroes’ extensive Sports Recovery programme to train, select and develop the team.