By Cowan Botha, FDM Consultant, Project Manager at ISG, and member of the 2016 Great Britain Invictus Games Team…

What can I say about an injury that changed my life? Before my injury, I was a fully fit and active soldier in the Royal Dragoon Guards and had deployed on operations to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During pre-deployment training for my upcoming tour to Afghanistan, I was participating in a weighted run.

Unfortunately for me, that was the day my life changed.

Whilst running with my squad down a steep gravel track, I slipped and fell. An ultrasound scan, MRI and MRA revealed that I had torn the labrum in my hip and that a para-labral cyst had also formed.

Despite sill needing surgery I deployed to Afghanistan in October 2012 with my Regiment. All I wanted to do was add value and help my peers. Despite being on constant pain medication I was motivated by the thought that if I could help them avoid just one IED, it was worth me being there.

Upon my return to the UK in March 2013, I underwent my first of 3 surgeries. The whole experience was extremely testing and very challenging mentally. When I had my medical board and was told that my military career was over it absolutely crushed me. Knowing that all the pain I had been through to try and stay in the Army had meant nothing was very hard to overcome.

None the less, I started on my journey to rebuild myself. I joined the Help for Heroes triathlon team and also participated in Ironman 2014 as part of an injured serviceman relay team. It was a huge privilege to compete and really boosted my moral.

Towards the end of a very emotional year, I was thrilled to be selected to represent Great Britain in the 2014 Invictus Games. It was an amazing feeling to represent my country and compete in the games and even better to win a bronze medal for rowing for all of my efforts.

Following the Games, I realised I needed to begin planning my life beyond the military. I wanted to do something with the skills I gained throughout my career in the Army but was worried that after 9 years in the forces, I wouldn’t have anything to contribute to the corporate world.

Coming to FDM group, a company that is really driven to showcasing the skills that we have learnt in the military was the perfect place for me to kick start my new life. The Project Management training at FDM was very useful and offered a good introduction into the corporate world. Essentially I felt my greatest asset was my positive attitude, communication and leadership skills. Having the willingness to work hard has been very important and clearly noted in industry, as the “just get things done attitude” is something that sets us apart from the rest!

It is huge honour to represent Great Britain again in the second Invictus Games. We get to compete against the best injured sportsmen in the world and hold our heads up high again, representing our country. Most of all I want to make my family proud. Having my wife Samantha and son Shane watch me compete in Orlando will be an amazing feeling. They mean everything to me and have truly been the pillar of support I needed through all my dark days of recovery.

Watch a video of Cowan’s journey to the Invictus Games here