Supporting our Mates in the 2024 Warrior Games

18 June 2024

Mates4Mates is cheering on Team Australia at the 2024 Warrior Games, with a special congratulations to our inspiring Mates chosen to compete.

The 2024 Warrior Games are taking place in Florida, USA from 21 to 30 June 2024. Created and hosted by the USA Department of Defence, the annual event invites Australian and US veterans experiencing the physical and mental impacts of service to compete in a range of sporting events, celebrating the resilience and dedication of current and ex-serving military personnel. 

Ainsley Hooker is one of the Mates representing Team Australia this year and kindly spoke to Mates4Mates ahead of the Games. 

How exercise impacts recovery 

Veteran and Team Australia competitor, Ainsley Hooker became a below-knee amputee after sustaining an ankle injury that led to 13 years of chronic pain, and a dying foot and ankle. 

After competing for Team Australia at the 2023 Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany, Ainsley returns this year to represent her country and said that the choice to compete again was an easy one. 

“I decided to apply for the Warrior Games because this life-changing experience isn’t over for me. I’m not finished wanting to be better and understand who I am, what my limitations are as an amputee, and what this new adventure in life can still bring,” Ainsley said. 

“The 2023 Games were incredible, not just being able to compete in sports again, but the atmosphere, the excitement, and the people. The journey inspires both you, and the people around you, to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.” 

“The highlight of the Invictus Games was the new friends I’ve met, the fellow veterans and what they had overcome to be there. We may have been 21 different nations, and needed an interpreter at times, but we all speak the same language of the military. We helped each other, we supported each other, and no one was left behind.” 

Physical rehabilitation at Mates4Mates 

At Mates4Mates, veterans can access physical rehabilitation and wellbeing services to help them reconnect and recover. 

Ainsley explained that when she first joined Mates4Mates, she was embarrassed of her amputation and, knowing her mental health was in a fragile place, thought physical rehabilitation in a centre of military people would be easier and less traumatising. 

“The Mates4Mates exercise physiologists helped me to research more about my injury and amputation, developing exercises that I could do without limitation,” Ainsley said. 

“Mates4Mates gave me the confidence to leave the house, introduced me to my love of wheelchair rugby, and showed me all the strength that I still have. You just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.” 

Veterans and family members can access Mates4Mates exercise physiologists in our centres in Townsville, Stafford and Ipswich. Our exercise physiologists can provide one-on-one sessions and work with you to find the right place to start or book you in for one of our group exercise physiology programs.  
 
For more information about Mates4Mates services and how we can help to support you, reach out to us on 1300 4 MATES (62 837) for a confidential chat.   

About the Warrior Games 

Commencing on Friday, 21 June until Sunday, 30 June, the Warrior Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured, and ill service personnel.  

The Games promote the role of sports and physical activity for recovery, motivation, and rehabilitation for those affected physically and mentally following traumatic events in the line of service.  

This year will be the 14th edition of the Games, with the USA Department of Defence creating the Warrior Games in 2010.  

Participants will compete in 11 adaptive sports, including:  

  • Archery 
  • Cycling 
  • Sitting volleyball 
  • Swimming 
  • Track 
  • Field 
  • Wheelchair basketball 
  • Wheelchair rugby 
  • Shooting 
  • Indoor rowing 
  • Powerlifting 

To find out more, visit the Warrior Games website here

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