Catterick private prepares for Invictus Games

Scott McNeice, second from left, with other Invictus Games athletes.

Scott McNeice spent the last Invictus Games preparing for an amputation – now the Catterick-based Army private is ready to dive head-first into the event.

The Invictus Games is an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in a multitude of sports.

This year’s competition is just a few weeks away with the Chesterfield-born health care assistant ready to head to Sydney, with the event getting under way on October 20.

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He’ll do so with no fewer than six events to contend with, ranging from archery to sitting volleyball, and cycling to wheelchair rugby – with three events coming on his 34th birthday alone.

McNeice wouldn’t have it any other way though, already learning a great deal about himself since suffering a service-related knee injury more than 18 months ago.

The knee was operated on but the operation went wrong, leaving him wheelchair bound, in constant burning pain and with no feeling in his foot.

“It’s just a few weeks away so we’re away at camps for the rest, there’s a lot going into this,” said McNeice, who was competing in the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, where Invictus Games competitors had the opportunity to be selected to represent their nation in the event in Sydney.

“The team sports are quite interesting, before my injury I was very much in to individual sports but this has really opened my eyes to how much you rely on other people.

“You get the banter going, everyone is pulling together for the same cause and it’s a real helpful part of what you’re doing.

“As for the individual sports, you’re thinking about what you’re doing but you’ve got the backing from everyone else, people are pushing you to go better, harder, faster, stronger, but within your own capabilities.

“You can push your own boundaries but you’re competing against yourself, pushing your own personal bests and taking in your own achievements.

“I’m very new to this, I only lost my leg in November 2017 and this culture is something different for me.”

As part of the Nursing Corps, McNeice went from treating the wounded and injured to being one of them, a shock to the system that took some time getting used to.

But having been enthralled by the personal journeys of those in his care, he was far from content with sitting back and wallowing in self-sympathy.

Instead the Derbyshire native put his competitive nature to good use and realigned his life to new capabilities, set to put them to the test in just a few weeks’ time.

“I’ve actually looked after three of the guys competing with them but now I’m with them, I’m the patient and competing alongside them and it’s a very different aspect looking at life,” he added.

“Invictus has really helped with my recovery, now I have this really big goal to go for and that confirmation of my place was great, but there are six sports to go in and a lot of work to do.

“It’s given me another focus as opposed to the amputation, it’s a positive thing which has given me something completely different.

“Relearning how to walk again and learning how to get about when in a wheelchair has given me a different aim, but it’s not something I’m really noticing.

“There are difficulties in losing your leg but there are difficulties in life anyway, it’s bringing out the positives about what can be achieved.”

Jaguar Land Rover is the Presenting Partner of the Invictus Games, which takes place in Sydney, Australia from the 20th to 27th of October 2018. Jaguar Land Rover is using this year’s Invictus Games to lead and inform the debate on future mobility, and how its future technology could help people’s lives.