Sport 'paramount' to recovery of Invictus games gold medallist from West Sussex
A former Royal Air Force gunner from Bognor, who won two gold medals at the Invictus Games in Sydney, has highlighted the importance of sport to his recovery.
Felpham man Mike Goody, who competed as a swimmer, was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2008 which left him with a compound fracture of his left ankle.
After two years of painful surgery and rehabilitation, he had his foot amputated.
Last year involved a lot of surgery for Mike, which resulted in him having a lot of time out from competing and swimming, and ‘took a toll’ on his PTSD and mental state.
He added: “That’s one of the reasons for taking part in the games this year.
"Using sport in recovery is an absolute must. It's paramount. That’s the way forward.
"Anyone who is undergoing anything, sport is such a powerful tool [as] it can be used in a whole platter of different ways."
Mike has participated in sporting events across the world, most recently the Invictus Games in Sydney, two years after competing in Florida — where he won four gold medals.
After taking part in the multi-sport event at the Invictus Games on two previous occasions, Mike won gold in the 50m freestyle and backstroke finals, silver in the 100m Freestyle and Relay finals and bronze in the 50m breaststroke final this year.
Whilst Mike said sport was a crucial component in his recovery, he said that it’s the other factors that run along side it that he feels he has most benefited from.
"Medal wise it probably wasn’t as successful as previous years but I wasn’t in it for the medals," he revealed.
“Being around the blokes again and all the positive attitudes have massively helped. Coming home with a few medals was like a nice extra.
"The Invictus spirit isn’t about winning the medals its about being with the guys again and helping each other out through those times. It’s the atmosphere.
"Being around fellow guys who have been injured similarly to yourself. Comradery is the force of nature."
Mike said the 'most memorable part' of his Invictus Games experience, was celebrating with his partner.
He added: "We’d both had a really tough year and to be honest for me it was getting to share the positive aspect of the Invictus games with her and how it can aid us as we move forward without physical injuries."
Motivational speaking has become a huge part of Mike’s life as a way to help encourage others.
He said: "I do talks in schools with 100 people in a room [and] I can change one or two people's thoughts and motivate them or inspire them.
"If you change one person's opinion or stereotype, perspective, thought process or inspire them to do something more, then that’s the winner."
In the future, Mike hopes to 'progress with triathlon or swimming'.
He continued: "For me last year was a bit of a timeout with surgery and addressing my mental health and stuff like that.
"[To move forward I needed to be] in that environment where I can compete.
"I would like to progress with triathlon or swimming or both hopefully and just use fitness in my long term recovery and ongoing health."