Braedon is a competitor in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, and he joined us to Fly the Flag in support of the Games.
Braedon, a wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball competitor, has an above the knee right leg amputation (following an accident). He spoke to us about his journey towards the Invictus Games, and what it means to him to be involved.
“The Games for me are a great opportunity to prove what I can do and prove to the world and myself that I'm not broken – to be part of a culture where I don't feel disabled.”
Braedon describes himself as his own anti-role model.
"It took me a long time to realise that I wanted to be stronger than I was, to be enjoying each day as it comes, and be better than I was before."
"I was doing nothing in my life, a lot of ‘woe is me’, I was always upset and unhappy about what happened to me."
The Invictus Games were a powerful motivation to get healthier.
"Initially I was reluctant, didn't think I could make the team. But once I had the 'what do you want to do with your life' discussion with myself, I pushed for it."
"When I started wheelchair rugby, it was a good release to get in a chair, smash around the court and get rough again. I hadn't been able to play contact sports since my accident. Basketball gave me a chance to be a bit more tactical and show a bit more skill and finesse in a wheelchair. Volleyball offered a great opportunity to come together as a team to work together to achieve a common goal.
"If I didn't have something to achieve for it, I wouldn't have made the effort to work as hard as I do."
Braedon told us about the comradery among competitors, how everyone looks after and checks on each other.
"The whole Invictus Games community is extremely supportive. From day one, we were thrust amongst a pool of people who are very different to each other, but in many ways the same. It made it very easy to open up about our issues. That also made it easier to tell my story to people I thought originally wouldn't understand. I don't feel judged."
He talked about the courage and resilience of many fellow competitors that he has met along the way. "We’ve had a lot of bad cards dealt to us and play the best case we can... there are competitors worse off than me that still have a big smile on their face."
Looking towards the Invictus Games in October, Braedon is looking forward to meeting other competitors.
"The Australian team only has five leg amputees and it will be a good opportunity to meet people like myself, hear their stories, and find out what they do with their lives now. A lot of people get another job, start their own business, and take life in their stride."
The role of supporters like MinterEllison is very powerful.
"It's quite inspiring to us and gives us an audience to strive to achieve for. To know that we have supporters and people behind helps to push us through," Bradeon said.
Braedon encouraged everyone to get out and watch the Invictus Games and cheer every competitor on - regardless of the country they are from.
"It's about people getting out there and showing the world that we're not broken or useless. Cheer everybody on!"
MinterEllison is proud to be the Official Lawyers and an Official Supporter of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and to support inspiring competitors like Braedon.
For Gold Coast partner Paula Robinson, who is leading our Invictus Games efforts, it is inspiring to see firsthand the impact of our work on the Games.
"Everyone needs to hear the stories from the competitors. The Invictus Games represent hundreds of those stories, and seeing our legal work so closely related to the people who are benefiting from it is incredibly rewarding,” she said.