The inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel founded and supported by England's Prince Harry, was held just two years ago in London. This year's Games will be held in Orlando, Florida in May, and should be a source of inspiration and pride for all of us who have been touched by life-altering injury.
The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel who compete in these games and reminds us what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury.
As a Board Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist for over 25 years, I have seen countless examples of similar courage from people -- service veterans and non-veterans alike -- who show their determination in different ways -- in a trip made to the store, in picking up the kids from school, in working a 40 hour week.
This daily courage should not be overlooked. For people who have not experienced the loss of a limb, it's hard to appreciate just how truly life-altering the exerience can be. For many people, the loss of mobility can pose such challenges that life itself becomes hard.
But with the right prosthetic and the right support team, even the loss of a limb doesn't have to significantly diminish one's daily living. I am constantly inspired by our patients who refuse to let hardship define them. Who, every day, live the words of the poem that gave the Invictus Games their name:
"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."