For father of two and former Australian Army Bushmaster crew commander Xavier Green, it will be a matter of switching the brain from “dad life” to warrior mode later this month at the Invictus Games in Düsseldorf.
CAPTION: Invictus Games Team Australia competitor Xavier Green at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen NSW. Story by Belinda Barker. Photos by Flight Sergeant Ricky Fuller.
Mr Green will represent Australia across three sports: sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby.
He said he loves competition and sport in general.
“I used to play a lot of rugby league when I was growing up, so I loved that,” he said.
“I had done a scratch match with wheelchair rugby once and really enjoyed it, so when I heard this was on, I thought it would be awesome to do it.
“I still want my kids to see me playing some form of sport. I want them to be able to enjoy playing sport as well.”
That love of playing sport has taken some outside-the-box thinking since back injuries culminated in a microdiscectomy – or minor back surgery – in 2019.
After almost a decade of duty in the Army, Mr Green was medically discharged in 2021, but the feeling of being part of a tight-knit unit still called to him. That call was eventually answered when he was accepted into the Australian Invictus Games team.
“I haven’t really had that camaraderie since leaving the Army – similar people, similar issues – so that’s been really good,” Mr Green said.
“It’s exciting to pull on the green and gold but I also feel like it comes with a bit of responsibility. Not to just perform physically, but in all aspects.
“It’s been a great experience. I’ve definitely got a lot out of it, and you meet people in similar situations, so it’s nice to know you’re not alone.”
Cheering him on from the stands in Germany will be partner Sam, children Jensen, 3, and Maeve, 18 months, and Xavier’s sister, who will all see how his training – particularly in the wheelchair sports – pays off.
“I’ve mainly been training in social wheelchair basketball and wheelchair footy [Australian rules], because the wheelchair skills are transferrable,” Mr Green said.
“But I’d probably say wheelchair rugby is my favourite sport that I’m doing at the games.”
As for the team’s chances at picking up some medals? The law student isn’t sure, but points out success isn’t all about winning.
“I don’t know what the competition is like but I think we’ll give it a good, hard crack,” he said.
“As long as we do that we should be happy with ourselves.
“When they were picking teams, they weren’t picking purely on physical prowess.
“I think if you approach the games like that, you’re going to be missing out on other aspects of it.”
The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and ill serving and former serving military personnel and will be held in Germany for the first time, from September 9 to 16.
About 500 competitors from 21 nations, along with about 1000 family members and friends, will make the trek to Düsseldorf.
Meet Team Australia www.defence.gov.au/invictusgames