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Winnipeg veteran prepares for inspiring journey to Invictus Games in Germany

Click to play video: 'Overcoming obstacles'
Overcoming obstacles
After serving in the Canadian military for 8 years, a Winnipeg veteran is switching gears. He's training for the prestigious Invictus Games in Germany this September. Global News reporter Teagan Rasche has more on his inspiring journey – Aug 4, 2023

After serving in the Canadian military for eight years, Winnipegger Lealand Muller is heading to Germany for the prestigious Invictus Games in September.

Muller grew up in Winnipeg, playing sports and dreaming about his future. Learning to walk again is not something veterans envision for their future but it was his reality.

“My goals are to walk again and I’ve been making huge progress with that,” he said.

Muller told Global News when it came to choosing a career, joining the military was actually not high on his list.

“I just wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I was mentally and physically capable of joining the military.”

And it turned out he could do it and so began his eight-year career as a mechanic in the Canadian Armed force.

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“Working on everything from chainsaws all the way up to tanks. If you put fuel in it and it went vroom, I’ve probably worked on it,” he said.

But on his birthday in 2018, Muller said everything changed when a bad accident away from work rendered him paralyzed.

“I was tobogganing and I decided to go head first down the hill on the toboggan and I, unfortunately, hit a tree and at that moment I knew instantly I was paralyzed.”

Muller said he was told he wouldn’t walk again and he could no longer serve in the military, he said it was at this moment when he lost his identity.

This led him to apply for the Invictus Games — an international multi-sport event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women. The event is open to those still serving and veterans.

Over 500 Canadians applied and Muller said he was one of 30 chosen to go. His basketball coach, Dave Bileski said he is leading the way on the court.

“Lealand is razor focused on his goals. He’s the first one at the gym, he’s the last one to leave. He’s always organized,” Bileski said.

Muller will be competing in discus, hand cycling, and wheelchair basketball, and he said he feels this opportunity has given him a purpose during this difficult journey he’s on.

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“Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities to accomplish the goals you’ve set out for yourself,” he said.

The games will be held in Germany Sept. 9-16.

— with files from Global’s Teagan Rasche

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