Groundbreaking Research Examines Impact of Invictus Games
Through comprehensive evaluation of past and current Invictus competitors from different countries and backgrounds with varied injuries, Celina Shirazipour has found that the Invictus Games are a transformative experience for those involved and present an opportunity for participants to rejoin their military family.
“The Games are a gift for competitors in their recovery,” said Shirazipour. “The long-term benefits of Invictus allow competitors a return to self.” The public recognition that competitors receive and the chance to represent one’s country again were also identified by study participants as key elements of the Games.
Shirazipour described the three phases the research study examines: life before the Games and training, the eight-day duration of the Games and life after the Games. She noted the role that the Games play in providing competitors with a goal to work toward and highlighted the importance of supporting participants in maintaining goals after the Games end. According to Shirazipour, this is where including family and friends in the Invictus experience is crucial.
The results of this research study, which the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee announced funding for last year, are intended to encourage further development of adaptive sport programs, therapies and events for ill, wounded and injured military personnel in Canada and abroad.
Prince Harry spoke to the importance of sport for the body and the mind. He said: “For the competitors, we know that the journey to the Invictus Games is often not an easy one. We are dangling a carrot of sporting glory to help reignite qualities which have been worn down by months and often years of fighting – fighting to find purpose, fighting to reconnect with family, fighting to get fit again, fighting to leave the house and in some cases fighting to stay alive.
“Sport of course is not the only answer, but it is a hugely powerful tool. People find motivation and purpose in many different things. But in my mind, there is no denying the impact that teamwork, competition and fun has on someone’s well-being and outlook.
“I am delighted that Celina’s research validates my comments, and that what we have believed to be true is backed up by high-quality research.
“Now I have long believed that individuals who wear the uniform are role models for society. Their families understand the true meaning of teamwork, respect, discipline and leadership. And in a world where this is often lacking, I bet the values by which service families live their lives and the example they set for others through these Games, is having a profound effect on their communities and far beyond. Wouldn’t it be great if we could prove that too!”