The fourth Invictus Games will be held in Sydney later this month, and amongst the veterans competing will be Townsville representative Trudi Lines, returning to her home turf with the resilience and strength the event was named for.
Trudi, who moved to Townsville from Sydney 12 months ago, joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2003.
“I joined as a clerk supply (supplier) and was posted to JLU-N in 2004,” she said.
“I ran the warehouse and was in that role until 2006. I then moved in to Air Movements where I was deployed multiple times including Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Timor, twice to Afghanistan, and other locations on various humanitarian operations.
“In 2011 I transferred as an Electrician, which was Tri service training, so I was posted to an Army unit. I was then posted to 65sqn, the construction unit in the Air Force, in 2015.
“Due to various situations, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2015 and I finally medically discharged in March 2017.”
Trudi was engaging with veteran’s charity Mates 4 Mates when expressions for interest for the Invictus Games came out. At first she didn’t think she was eligible: “I said, ‘I’m not missing any limbs?’”
“They explained that prerequisites were any injury, illness or mental health issue created during service time. During my time in the military I received multiple injuries, including neck, back, ankles, and various others including PTSD.
“I saw the list of sports and thought, I haven’t done any of these except running, and I couldn’t do that anymore due to my ankle injury.
“I used to play Women’s AFL so I like to get amongst it, and wheelchair rugby seemed hectic; so, I decided I’ll try that. A little later I also decided I’d give wheelchair tennis a go as I like tennis. It’s very different in a chair, that’s for sure!”
Trudi said training for the games had been beneficial for her rehab, but receiving the call that she had made the team was the greatest boost of all.
“I was so excited. I was feeling very grateful and proud that I was getting the chance to represent my country again, but in a different way,” she said.
“When I was told in the military I couldn’t play contact sport again, I was shattered. Then when I started having issues running, which I also loved, I felt very lost.
“I had lost my motivation to exercise for various reasons – pain, medication, etc. – but thanks to the Invictus Games, I get to be a part of sport again, and better still, I get to represent my country again.”
“I’m very privileged to be able to do that. To put that Aussie shirt on and go out and do my very best in front of a home crowd is going to be absolutely electric.”
Trudi said that was the best thing about the Invictus Games – an international adaptive multi-sport event created by Prince Harry in 2014 – it’s all about doing your best.
“No one is perfect, but it’s important to not give up, just keep trying your best.”