Laura Wright

On September 25, 2017, Dalhousie University and the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research’s (CIMVHR’s) Dr. Celina Shirazipour was joined by Prince Harry and Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee CEO Michael Burns at the opening session of the CIMVHR conference in Toronto. Shirazipour presented early findings from the study, which examines the role of adaptive sport in the rehabilitation of ill, wounded and injured military personnel and their families.

Through comprehensive evaluation of past and current Invictus competitors from different countries and backgrounds with varied injuries, Shirazipour has found that the Invictus Games are a transformative experience for those involved and present an opportunity for participants to rejoin their military family.

“The Games are a gift for competitors in their recovery,” said Shirazipour. “The long-term benefits of Invictus allow competitors a return to self.” The public recognition that competitors receive and the chance to represent one’s country again were also identified by study participants as key elements of the Games.

Shirazipour described the three phases the research study examines: life before the Games and training, the eight-day duration of the Games and life after the Games. She noted the role that the Games play in providing competitors with a goal to work toward and highlighted the importance of supporting participants in maintaining goals after the Games end. According to Shirazipour, this is where including family and friends in the Invictus experience is crucial.

The results of this research study, which the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee announced funding for last year, are intended to encourage further development of adaptive sport programs, therapies and events for ill, wounded and injured military personnel in Canada and abroad.

Prince Harry spoke to the importance of sport for the body and the mind and thanked Shirazipour for her work. “I am delighted that Celina’s research validates my comments, and that what we have believed to be true is backed up by high-quality research,” Prince Harry said.

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