Cory Nowell never saw himself being part of Team Canada, but he was inspired by a friend who competed in the 2017 games in Toronto.
Nowell, who is based at CFB Gagetown and will represent his country at this year’s Invictus Games, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2017. But he says an accumulation of events led to the diagnosis.
Nowell believes there`s a misconception around PTSD as only being from combat.
“We take that stress home. That stress affects my wife, my kids, and in turn, it just was leading me down a path that I wasn’t very proud of the person I was, the father I was, the husband I was.”
Nowell says the goal of the games isn’t medalling. He wants to do something better for his own life, and his children after that.
“Really looking forward to competing against some of those other countries and seeing some of those struggles and some of the challenges and the successes that they’ve gone through that helps them to change their lives and keep them moving forward,” Nowell said.
The judgemental nature towards mental and physical injuries is something Nowell has been affected by. But he says with fellow Invictus athletes, all judgement is lost.
“You just look around your room and you knew and you could sense that everyone had something; physical, mental, whatever the case may be. And we gelled immediately.”
WATCH: Canadians train for Invictus Games
Some physical injuries include a broken femur, knee surgery on both knees, wrist surgery, arm nerve damage – the majority of which came from sports while in the military.
Nowell will be competing in cycling and rowing as part of individual sports, and is also taking part in wheelchair basketball.
He says the games are most important for showing his family how much there is to life in general; they`re not about the medals, and he hopes to inspire other members of the military.
The team leaves for Ottawa on Oct. 14, before heading to Australia for the games, which kick off Oct. 20.