A former RAF corporal who has used sport in his day-to-day battle with post-traumatic stress disorder has been selected as Team UK’s vice-captain at the Invictus Games.
Cpl David Morris, from Sleaford, will take up the honoured role at The Hague, in the Netherlands, next May, having competed swimming and rowing at the last Invictus Games, in Sydney, two years ago.
David, a Corporal in the RAF since 2000, was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder following an incident in 2011 while serving as a survival equipment specialist with the Red Arrows.
He admitted the illness made him scared of his own shadow and reluctant to leave the house.
“The power of the Invictus Games is hard to describe to people, it has to be seen to be believed,” he said.
“The benefits have dramatically changed my way of life. I am learning to cope with anxiety and how it controls certain aspects of my life.
“I want to be able to manage that level of anxiety which still plays a massive part in blocking me from achieving simple goals, and can often be debilitating, through raising my self-confidence to a point where I actually believe I can do something without thinking worst-case scenario and giving in before I‘ve even tried.
“I’m so lucky to have been given this second chance at life and it’s thanks to the Invictus team, my coaches, Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion, and my amazing family and friends.
“Without them, this would not be possible.”
As well as his captaincy role, David will have a busy schedule as competitor, taking part in athletics, swimming and sitting volleyball.
He will be joined in the 65-strong team by his brother Antony, from Staffordshire, who encouraged David to try out for the Invictus Games in 2018, and will be competing in athletics, rowing and powerlifting.
David, who was born in Peterborough, believes his experience in Australia two years ago will help him mentor those new to the Games in 2020.
“I have continued to use sports recovery as a key point when delivering presentations to organised events such as wellbeing days at RAF units,” he said.
“I have also done the Mental Health First Aid course, with a view to becoming an instructor.
“This is all to promote and raise awareness of mental health issues. These activities ensure that I am playing my part to help with others and their recovery.
“It also helps keep me focused and not to go backwards. Being vice-captain is helping with confidence to carry this out as I have found that I have been fairly good at supporting and encouraging new Invictus applicants for this year.
“Taking part in Invictus Games 2020 will hopefully increase my ‘use’ as a new, confident person who is able to take on new challenges and prove that this actually works.”
Invictus UK is delivered by a partnership comprising Help for Heroes, The Ministry of Defence, and The Royal British Legion.