A severing member of the Armed Forces from Cornwall is set to take part in this year’s Invictus Games, which will be held in Düsseldorf, in Germany. Codey Morton joined the Royal Navy as a medical assistant in 2011, aged just 17.
She said she felt she had always wanted to work in a uniformed service, and had considered joining the police or becoming a paramedic, before it was suggested to her to join the Navy. Throughout her Armed Forces career, Codey has worked in many different settings, including hospitals and what she describes as the equivalent to a GP practice.
However, over the years, Codey has developed some pelvic and lower back issues, which would have led her to medical discharge if it wasn’t for being placed on a concentrated rehabilitation programme. The now 28-year-old, from Torpoint, works at the Royal Naval Recovery Centre Hasler in Plymouth, supporting the Wounded Injured and Sick Personnel assigned there with their medical appointments, medications, referrals and by being a general welfare support.
Read more: Veteran in Cornwall who sustained head injury in Afghanistan preparing for Invictus Games in Dusseldorf
Codey said she feels “very lucky” that she has been able to continue working in her role alongside her rehabilitation programme. She hopes that taking part in the archery, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, and swimming events at this year’s Invictus Games, will further help her recovery process.
She explained she initially made the decision to apply for Invictus after losing her brother, Kyran, in a car crash last October. He was only 19 and in the middle of his phase two training with the Royal Navy. As well as supporting with her physical rehabilitation, Codey wants to do Invictus in memory of her brother, to help her through her grief, and improve her mental health.
“After my brother died, I realised that life is too short and you just need to crack on and do everything you can to make the most of it,” Codey told CornwallLive. “The first training camp [for Invictus] was three weeks after the accident.
“I’d been with my parents trying to support them and take charge of the family, which I felt I had to do as the eldest child. That first training session was the first time I’d felt normal again. I hadn’t really left the house in weeks, except to go for coffee.”
She added: “Invictus is going to help develop the management of my physical conditions, especially being able to have more coaching and utilise sport in different ways. A big one will also be my mental health. To experience new experiences and be part of the team will support me through my grief cycle, put me out of my comfort zone and develop me as a person.”
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Speaking of being selected for Team UK, Codey said she feels a sense of Imposter Syndrome because her injuries are not visible. However, she said she is looking forward to competing alongside other inspirational Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
“I can’t quite believe [I was selected], I wasn’t sure I would be,” she said. “I have a sense of Imposter Syndrome because people can’t physically see my injuries and I’m still in my career. It’s not something I’ve ever really spoken about before. But it’s nice to have a team outside of my navy medical bubble and it’s a complete honour to have met such incredible people who are role models.”
Codey added that the training so far has hugely supported her recovery and helped her enjoy taking part in sports once again. She is also looking forward to being able to take her family to Düsseldorf to support her and the rest of Team UK, during the Games.
“The sport and recovery process has been a turntable moment for me because before doing all of this, even just going for a walk was painful for me,” she explained. “As a Cornish girl, who loves to go outside, that’s been really hard.
“I’m feeling nervous about taking part in the Games because it’s in such a public space but it will be great to meet so many inspirational people there. I also think it’s really important for me to be able to raise awareness of disabilities to my two daughters and show them that we are all equal and can come together.”
This year’s Invictus Games will be the sixth to have taken place. The first Invictus Games took place in London in 2014 and were followed by games in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022. It is an international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. It was created by the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who was inspired after visiting the Warrior Games in America 2013.
The Royal British Legion supports everyone in the armed forces, facing illness or injury. The charity in partnership with the Ministry of Defence is leading a team of veterans and military personnel to take part in this year’s Invictus Games and is raising awareness of the service and sacrifice of servicemen and women and the power of sport to inspire recovery.