Invictus Athlete With PTSD Comforted By Teammate When Helicopter Flies Over

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Wheelchair athletes Invictus GamesGetty

If you’ve ever had an off-day or a time in your life when you’ve been feeling scared or nervous, you’ll know how important friends are for your well-being.

It doesn’t matter if they provide comforting words over the phone, if they make you a cuppa to calm your nerves, or if they give you a comforting hug – they really can make all the difference.

Which is what one athlete at the Invictus Games has discovered after being comforted by his friend when a helicopter flew overhead, causing him to panic.

Paul Guest is a British athlete who, according to the Invictus Games official website, was playing in a wheelchair tennis match on Monday (October 22), in the Sydney games when the helicopter flew overhead.

His Dutch teammate, Edwin Vermetten, comforted Guest by embracing him in a moving moment which has touched people worldwide.

Guest has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past, and so the noise of the helicopter is said to have startled him.

Paul Guest Edwin Vermetten Invictus GamesGetty

According to the Help for Heroes website, Guest suffers from both visual and hearing impairments, as well as being a wheelchair user.

He states on the website:

Before becoming part of the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship, I had locked myself away from life for over 10 years and tried taking my own life many times.

Being part of this has and will give me my self-respect back. It’s given me hope and shown me a way forward.

According to the Invictus Games website, Vermetten saw how Guest was struggling and immediately rushed over to comfort him.

He grabbed hold of his shoulders and brought their foreheads together, causing some people to shed tears as they watched on.

Incredibly, speaking to reporters after their win, Vermetten revealed it was the theme song to Frozen which allowed him to break the tension.

He said:

I took him by the face and said ‘Look at me. We are a team so let it go.’ Look into my eyes and sing the ‘Frozen’ song, and we did.

For him, this was the moment he let go, and he did, he literally let it all go.

Guest returned to the court after the incident and the pair went on to win the doubles match against a US team.

The Invictus Games kickstarted in London in 2014 after Prince Harry was inspired by a visit to the Warrior Games in the USA, realising how sport can positively impact the lives of those suffering from injury and illness.

According to the official website, ‘it is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.’

This year’s games are taking place in Sydney, Australia and events are going on from October 20 until October 27. It’s the fourth Invictus Games to be held, with previous events taking place in London, Orlando and Toronto.

Five hundred competitors are taking part in 11 sports throughout the week, including wheelchair basketball, road cycling and wheelchair rugby.

We wish Paul and all of the other athletes the best of luck in the rest of the competition.

If you think you may have PTSD, it’s best to speak to your GP who can refer you for treatment.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call 999. If you need someone to talk to you can call The Samaritans on 116 123, or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (you can also text 86463).


Lucy Connolly

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).