Using the power of sport to heal our veterans

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The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

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26 October 2018

THE healing power of adaptive sports to help ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel will be adopted as a key measure to support the wounded, injured and ill (WII) community, with the announcement of a ‘sports cell’ by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester today.

Mr Chester said adaptive sport has proven to be a positive aid for ex-serving personnel who are transitioning to civilian life, and for veterans and ADF personnel as part of their rehabilitation.  As well as health benefits, sport creates a sense community which is so important to wellbeing post active service.
“The formation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Sports Cell, led by the Department of Defence with support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), will channel serving and ex-serving members into national and international adaptive and non-adaptive sports programs, including the Invictus Games,” Mr Chester said.

“Transitioning from the ADF into civilian life can be a challenging time for our personnel, especially if this is for medical reasons and as a Government we are committed to supporting them through this process.

“Sport is also the perfect platform to be active, build a sense of community and forge the friendships which play a big part of service in the Australian Defence Force, which is often a missing factor when re-entering civilian life.

“Like most of the world has seen this past week through the Invictus Games, it is truly inspiring to watch how powerful sport has been in motivating the recovery of our ex-serving personnel, enabling them to accomplish the greatest feats on an international stage.”

The ADF Sports Cell will support the initiative being proposed by the Returned and Services League (RSL), working with likeminded ex-service organisations, to implement the Veteran’s Sports Australia Program as a legacy of the Invictus Games 2018.  The Cell will also foster an alumni community that enables some past competitors to become volunteer mentors, coaches and sports administrators.

“Our Government is putting veterans and their families first and provides more than $11.2 billion each year to deliver the essential services and programs they rely on, but there is more to be done,” Mr Chester said.

“By working together with veterans, their families and the organisations which support them we will can ensure we deliver the best possible after care for transitioning members.”
James Brown President of the Returned and Services League NSW, said veterans family is stronger when it works together.

“The power of sport to heal and bind us as a community is incredible. For many veterans, it is a lifeline. Supporting veteran health and wellbeing is critical and Veteran Sport Australia will achieve this through sport.”

Funding and support for the initiative is being provided by RSL NSW and ClubsNSW  - both of whom are Founding Partners of Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

“ClubsNSW is thrilled to support Veteran Sport Australia – a program which, like the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, will use the power of sport to improve the lives of injured and sick servicemen and women,” said ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball.

“The club industry takes great pride in the practical support it lends to the veteran community. This program is just another example of our determination to help our wounded warriors transition back into civilian life.”


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