Brooke's battle from 'rock bottom' to Invictus Games

Published 5:00am 2 May 2023

Brooke's battle from 'rock bottom' to Invictus Games
Words by Nick Crockford

Brooke Mead, from Kallangur, needed a challenge so great it could change her life - and she found it, the Invictus Games.

The Royal Australian Navy veteran has been selected for Team Australia and will fly to Dusseldorf for the sixth Games from September 9-16.

Just back from snowboarding in Colorado for the Invictus Games Foundation, Mead is now preparing to represent Australia in weightlifting, swimming and indoor rowing.

It will be a ‘dream come true’ for the 29-year-old who trains at CrossFit505 in Burpengary and is “determined to show the world veterans can overcome any hardship with the right mindset, support and physical fitness”.

Power of sport

“As a veteran and young female, I have faced many obstacles, physical and mental - PTSD, depression, anxiety, obesity 50kg weight loss, spinal injury,” she said.

“I have not let these defeat me and have used the power of sport to redefine who I am.

“Being an athlete in Team Australia for the 2023 Invictus Games is a dream come true.”

Started by Prince Harry in 2014, the Invictus Games support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women worldwide.

Mead was 18 when she joined the Navy in 2012 as a communications information systems sailor. She was discharged in 2016.

As a patrol boat sailor, she spent much of her service on Operation Resolute, protecting Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests.

“I battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression from body recoveries and search and rescues during my service,” Mead said on the Invictus Australia website.

“I suffered a spinal cord injury that deteriorated to the extent I needed a spinal cord stimulator to be implanted.

“Sport has helped me regain control of my life and realise my self-worth.

'Best version of myself'

“Before returning to sport, I was on a path of self-destruction. Today, I can confidently say I am the best version of myself.

“For me, sport is non-negotiable and acts as a guiding compass towards achieving my goals and visions.”

The former Mango Hill resident says sport was the “foundation” of her childhood. “I grew up playing netball, touch football and swimming,” she said.

“While I was serving, I was on the navy dragon boating team. I am now dedicated to CrossFit, strength training and indoor rowing," Mead said.

For the better part of a decade, the physical pain and mental anguish from my injuries was debilitating.

“I allowed myself to employ a victim mentality, and my life was at a standstill; this was unacceptable.

As she continues to climb from “rock bottom” Mead has given herself “no option but to win”.

“Success at the Invictus Games isn’t a gold medal, it is firmly believing I have been relentless in my pursuit for personal growth.

Determined

“I have failed at too many things in my life and I will not let this be another.”

The 2023 Invictus Games were originally scheduled to be in Dusseldorf last year.

But, after the 2020 Games, in The Hague, were pushed back to 2021 and then 2022 by COVID, Dusseldorf was rescheduled to this year.

London hosted the first games in 2014 followed by Orlando 2016, Toronto 2017, Sydney 2018 and The Hague. Vancouver/Whistler will have the first hybrid winter/summer Games in 2025.

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