Rach's story

After injury cut short her military career, Rach’s recovery journey took her from the RBL Battle Back Centre, all the way to the Invictus Games in Sydney and The Hague.

Rach joined the RAF in 2007 as a Physical Training Instructor, before retraining as a Medic.

But during a game of rugby she suffered an injury to her hand. What started off as a minor thumb sprain, turned out to be far worse than initially thought.

Eventually Rach was medically discharged from the RAF, with the injury leaving her with little function in her right arm.

I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to take part in sports anymore and I blamed myself for everything.

Rediscovering sport

As part of her recovery, Rach spent time at the RBL Battle Back Centre – our facility in Lilleshall that supports wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans.

It was there that she was encouraged to get back into sport by signing up for Sports Fest, a taster for those considering applying for the Invictus Games.

“I said absolutely not, there’s no point. That’s just a path I’m not going to revisit.

“But they wouldn’t stop going on about it, so then I thought, what’s the worst that can happen?” 

Selection for Invictus Games Sydney

Rach describes her selection for the 2018 Invictus Games as “truly life changing”.  

“The hardest past for me was the swimming. So, my aim was just to get to the end of the pool and smile, and that’s exactly what I did.” 

Her achievements were made particularly special by the fact that her parents were sat in the audience watching her compete, when previously she’d been nervous about the idea.  

“I didn’t want them to see me compete as a one arm athlete rather than a two-armed one” says Rach. “But then there was a moment at the Games where I looked at my parents and they smiled, and I just smiled back. 


I thought sport was the thing that was letting me down, when actually it was the answer.

Captaining Team UK at Invictus Games The Hague

Rach applied to compete at the Invictus Games for the second time in 2020, which was then postponed due to COVID. 

This time, she decided to put herself forward to be the captain for Team UK.

“I wanted to give myself that opportunity because I thought, if I’m doing it for the second time, why wouldn’t I go for that captain role?

“And then not long later, I got selected as the first female Team UK captain.

“Being selected to captain the team has just continued to build my life.

“I’m more confident now. I can talk about my story. I’m closer than ever with my family... It’s all getting bigger and better and I’m just living life again.”

It’s really not just life changing, but it’s life saving.

Return as an ambassador

Wanting to give back to everyone that has helped her, Rachel is now supporting those applying for the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023.   

“I’m really proud to be here to witness the next guys coming through the journey” says Rach.   

“As a Sports Recovery Ambassador, I want to make sure I can be there for them and help with any queries they may have, any advice, especially what it’s like to go away on training weekends and the impact on yourself and your families”. 

“I also want to remind them that it’s not a sport, it’s not just the Games, but it’s the journey and the passion and the friendships that you make for life. And it’s really not just life changing, but it’s life saving.  

“Whether selected or not, their recovery journey will continue, and they can keep doing the sport that they’ve learned. They can continue meeting the friends that they’ve made and continue to socialise and get out of the house and just build on those small goals that they started with.  

“And they will become better, and more confident, and just happier.”


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