Prioritising Health And Wellbeing

Department of Defence

Jason Readdy’s philosophy is quite simple – use it or lose it.

After almost 32 years in the Army, the Special Air Services Regiment veteran is putting his philosophy into action by competing in indoor rowing, cycling and archery at the 2024 US Department of Defense’s Warrior Games.

“What I’m looking forward to most is competing against myself because it’s definitely a mindset,” Mr Readdy said.

“I’m the type of person that needs a challenge and if it’s too easy, I’m not interested. I’m competitive and like to win for sure, but now, for me, it’s about reaching my personal goals.

“I really believe that you have to give things a go because if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

The Perth resident, who grew up playing rugby league and athletics, didn’t play sports at all during his time with the military.

“Where I was, everyone was too worried about getting injured, missing out on deployments and putting extra pressure on our mates. It was all work, work, work,” Mr Readdy said.

“That meant there was a big hole to fill when I left the military two years ago and I had to find out what sports I could do with the injuries I’ve got.”

Having clocked up around 20 surgeries in his 50 years, including six shoulder reconstructions, four shoulder replacements, six knee operations, elbow surgery and a hip replacement, finding a sport that accommodated his injuries proved challenging.

Another challenge was getting medical and allied health professionals to support his return to athletic pursuits, which is where adaptive sports have come into their own and provided him with a much-needed outlet for recovery and rehabilitation.

Mr Readdy said rowing has provided the endorphin kick that running used to provide.

“Initially, I’d get on the rower and row for 20 minutes, but I wouldn’t really feel any benefits. Now that I’ve been following the training programs, I’ve learned rowing is actually a good cardio workout,” he said.

“Cycling is OK. I like it but don’t love it, but the surprise I’ve had is how much I’ve enjoyed archery.

“My arms don’t go past a certain point, but the sporting coach was really helpful and showed me how it could be adapted through different postures.

“What I like most about it is that it takes your mind off your problems. You’ve got to clear everything out and be in the moment so it’s something I’ll look into pursuing when I get back from Warrior Games.”

Looking to the future, Mr Readdy is keen to keep active and do what he can to keep his fellow veterans active as well, while also prioritising his own health and wellbeing.

“I take painkillers for my injuries but you just have to put up with it. Sport is very good for veterans because it takes your mind off other things,” he said.

“In the last year and a half, I’ve really noticed a change in myself and it’s starting to feel good. Readjusting to sport and having that back in my life is also making a big difference.”

The Warrior Games are continuing through to June 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.

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