Meet the Invictus Games competitors currently serving their country

Ministry of Defence
7 min readSep 5, 2023


Team image of Team UK
Credit: Royal British Legion

59 athletes are due to represent Team UK in Düsseldorf, Germany at the sixth Invictus Games (9–16 September), the international multi-sport tournament for wounded, injured or sick veterans and service personnel.

The competition, founded in 2014 by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to support the recovery of personnel who have been injured whilst serving their country, harnesses the power of sport to aid rehabilitation.

Nine members of this Team UK line-up are currently still serving as members of the UK Armed Forces, combining their rehabilitation with roles that continue to uphold the safety and security of the UK.

Here, some of these service personnel share how sport and ongoing support from within the Defence community has helped with their recovery programme and to build physical and mental resilience.

Royal Navy Submarine Officer, Lt Cdr James Rogers

Photo of James Rogers in Team UK kit.
Credit: Royal British Legion

Team UK is this year captained by Submarine Officer Lt Cdr James Rogers, who returns for his second outing at the Invictus Games following his debut at The Hague last year. James will this year be competing in the Cycling, Indoor Rowing, Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball.

Following his diagnosis with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a long-term autoimmune inflammatory arthritis condition, James was off work for nine months and received support from the Defence Medical and Rehabilitation Centre to help ease his transition back into his work for the Royal Navy.

He had initially feared that his condition would curtail his career in the Navy, but with careful treatment and ongoing rehabilitation he has been able to progress his career as a Marine Engineer Officer. James now leads a team of skilled engineering technicians and officers who are working on the next generation of Royal Navy capabilities.

Credit: James Rogers; Tony Johnston Photography

Sport has played a critical role in James’ rehabilitation, with the Royal Navy allowing him time out for events that form part of the long-term management of his condition. Having access to gym facilities and Physical Training Instructors has been an advantage in this respect, especially whilst training for the Invictus Games and Royal Navy sporting events.

He credits the recent Invictus Games training camps with “reinvigorating [his] passion for sport, with noticeable, positive physical and mental improvements” and has described the “camaraderie and excitement” that comes with being part of a team.

LH Codey Morton, Royal Navy

Image of Codey Morton in Team UK kit.
Credit: Royal British Legion

Leading Medical Assistant Codey Morton can empathise with the patients she supports at the Royal Navy Recovery Centre Hasler in Plymouth, because she is living with a life-long condition that requires ongoing rehabilitation and symptom management.

Specialist physiotherapy support from the Royal Navy and full backing from her chain-of-command have helped Codey to better understand and manage her condition long-term, allowing her to continue her career, improve her fitness and live a fulfilling life outside of military activity too.

She was also encouraged to join Team UK and try a number of sports, helping her make changes to her life that she says have “saved” her career and her health, and resurrected her ability to exercise. “Using sport and exercise to help my condition has quite simply changed my life,” she says, “and to be able to continue that with the support of my Invictus family is another step in the right direction.”

Finding sports that she can enjoy and adapt to her needs has brought “endless benefits” she says, as muscle conditioning and weight maintenance are important for managing her symptoms.

In the space of four Invictus Games training camps Codey has managed to find multiple benefits to aid her recovery, trying new sports that she had previously avoided for fear of worsening her symptoms and meeting other competitors who are also benefitting from sport despite challenging health conditions. She will compete in the Rowing, Swimming and Archery events in Düsseldorf.

“To be able to experience sport with others and not feel judged was very humbling,” she says of the training camps. “Everyone helped boost my confidence and showed me that irrespective of injury or illness, you can still benefit from sport.”

Chf Tech David Moncrieff, Royal Air Force

Image of David Moncrieff in Team UK kit.
Credit: Royal British Legion

Chief Technician David Moncrieff, a Mechanical Engineer working on Chinook helicopters who has completed tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, sustained a complex fracture to his leg after a horse-riding accident and subsequently developed acute compartment syndrome.

David says that his doctor and physiotherapist at RAF Odiham were “fundamental” to his recovery, building up his strength and balance and ultimately restoring his ability to walk again. His Squadron (7 Sqn) meanwhile allowed him to take the time off he needed to undergo his rehabilitation, which involved spending lengthy periods in the pool and at Basingstoke rehabilitation department.

While David has struggled with the change in his physical capabilities, he has found refuge in sport, which he says has given him purpose. He had formerly led a very active lifestyle and was a keen participant in Circuits training at the Station, but had to look for alternative outlets after his accident made running impossible and his mental health deteriorated as a result.

This led him to seek support from military mental health services and try different sports to build up his fitness, among them rowing and swimming which he really enjoys. He will be competing in both sports at The Games and credits the event with expanding his aims beyond just wanting to get stronger and help heal his leg and mind.

“Little did I know I would change my view dramatically” he said, “I am still very focused on my recovery and getting back to full fitness if possible, however, I now know that I want to make a difference to others and really involve myself in the team ethos of Invictus.”

Cpl Robert “Bob” Grantham, Royal Air Force

Image of Bob Grantham in Team UK kit.
Credit: Royal British Legion

Corporal Robert “Bob” Grantham, from Oxfordshire, has been combining his role as an RAF Aircraft Maintenance Technician with training for the Swimming, Cycling and Indoor Rowing events.

A keen sportsman, Bob suffered a serious ankle injury during a triathlon in 2021 that made running almost impossible.

It was only with bespoke support from RAF rehabilitation instructors and physios that he was able to adapt the techniques that would enable him to swim and cycle, strengthening his ankle in the process.

He credits sport with helping him to manage his condition, as well as his mental health, as it allows him to maintain and improve his fitness levels without aggravating the existing injury.

Training for the Invictus Games has formed a core part of his exercise regime and “breathed new life” into his rehabilitation programme, he says, as it motivates him to become more focussed and helps him meet others who understand his challenges.

Bob, whose day job involves working on the Puma helicopters of 33 Squadron at RAF Benson, says The Games have “taught me how much further physically and mentally I can push myself without it being detrimental to my recovery process.

“Having the privilege of representing my country at the Invictus Games will fulfil a lifelong ambition to be part of something that inspires average people like myself to reach their fitness goals and not let their injuries prevent that.”

Left: Bob plays waterpolo (RAF photographer); Bob takes part in triathlon event (Lilly Grantham-Hughes)

Supporting competitors to train for the Invictus Games is just one of the many ways Defence continues to help wounded, sick or injured service personnel in their recovery process, along with their families.

Through Military Medical Teams, Defence Recovery Centres and partnerships with military charities, personnel are equipped with individual recovery plans and are given access to all of the key services and resources they need to either help them return to duty or make a smooth transition to civilian life.

Read more about the UK Armed Forces’ Defence Recovery Centres and Team UK.



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