Dream comes true at Warrior Games

Just over two years ago, Georgia Murrell was paralysed and facing the arduous task of learning to walk again.

CAPTIONWarrior Games 2024 competitor Georgia Murrell at the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, ACT. Story by Flying Officer Tina Langridge. Photo by Flight Sergeant Ricky Fuller.

Now she’s making one of her childhood dreams come true by proudly donning the green and gold as she represents Australia in wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball at the 14th annual Warrior Games in Florida.

The recently medically retired boatswain’s mate from Golden Bay in Western Australia has an autoimmune condition known as Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an illness that makes your immune system attack your nervous system.

Ten months after joining the Navy in February 2021, Ms Murrell became paralysed and needed to relearn how to walk and speak.

Through sheer tenacity, a fighting spirit and rigorous rehabilitation, the 24-year-old managed to achieve her goal in five months, despite being told it would take about a year to master walking again.

“My illness not only took away my ability to walk, but it also took away my ability to participate in sport, which is something that has always been a massive part of my life,” Ms Murrell said.

“My nervous system may be damaged now – I get fatigued easily and a pins-and-needles sensation all through my body – but I cannot describe the feeling of being able to participate in adaptive sports in a team environment again.

“People are just so supportive and positive. It gives me a safe space to be able to live with my condition and turn it into something positive, not negative.”

This is important because Ms Murrell’s ongoing medical condition has also cost her the naval career she loves – a career she shared with her brother, Connor, and partner, Shaun Iselin, who are both boatswain’s mates.

As she readjusts to life outside the Navy, Ms Murrell, who grew up in Goulburn, NSW, has some significant personal milestones to look forward to, such as moving into her and Shaun’s newly built home and adopting a new puppy.

Then there’s channelling her inner-aggression to succeed in wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball events at the Warrior Games while her family and friends watch on from home and, hopefully, making next year’s Invictus Games in Vancouver.

“For me, winning will be the first time I get to wear the green and gold and go out with my teammates. I’ve always dreamt of representing Australia and I’m very excited to have this opportunity,” she said.

“Looking forward, I would love to jump into the snowboarding events at the Invictus Games. I know there’s not much snow over here in WA but I’m sure I could find some sand dunes to practise on.”

CAPTIONWarrior Games competitor Georgia Murrell defends against a Team Army competitor during a wheelchair rugby match.

The Warrior Games is an annual adaptive sports competition that brings together hundreds of wounded, injured and ill serving and former-serving military members from the US and a team of 30 competitors from Australia.

It is currently underway at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando until June 30.





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