The Invictus Games has allowed New Zealand Army Reserve Warrant Officer Class One Daryl Burton the chance to compete in sport again.
4 September 2017
The opportunity to compete again following illness means a lot for Palmerston North man Daryl Burton as he heads to Toronto for the 2017 Invictus Games.
New Zealand Army Reserve Warrant Officer Class One Burton suffered a crush injury to his back while serving overseas, as well as being stung by a scorpion on another operation, from which he is still suffering the effects 17 years later.
He will compete in tennis, wheelchair basketball and athletics field events at the Invictus Games, the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured, and ill active duty and veteran service members.
Warrant Officer Burton said his health situation had prevented him from playing sport in recent years and the Games had allowed him to compete again.
“To be part of a team again and the ability to compete is the start of another aspect of my recovery. It has already meant a change of attitude – from what I could no longer do, to what I can do,” he said.
He has always been a keen sportsman and competed in numerous sports over the years, including athletics, rugby and football. If he hasn’t been playing he has either coached or managed sports teams.
He is the current head coach of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Women’s Football team, manages the Army Masters Football team and coaches the Feilding Women’s Football team in the Manawatu women’s first division.
He has also been awarded the Army and NZDF Colours for services to sport.
“To compete, but also having the chance to share my experiences and possibly help someone else and learn from others living in similar circumstances is what I am most looking forward to when attending the Games,” he said.
The NZDF will send a contingent of 25 to compete against more than 600 athletes from 16 countries. Athletes will compete in 12 adaptive sports, including sitting volleyball, powerlifting and golf.
The NZDF team could not participate without the generous support of so many, in particular that of key sponsors Auckland RSA, Christchurch Memorial RSA, Fulton Hogan, BLK and Offlimits Trust.
Throughout the Games the team’s journey can be followed on:
NZDF Invictus Team Facebook: facebook.com/InvictusGamesNZ
NZDF Invictus Team Instagram: @nzdfinvictusteam
NZDF Twitter: @nzdefenceforce