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27th April 2022 Community News

First Responders and Military Members United for ANZAC Day

A team of men in wheelchairs in a gymnasium before competing a match of wheelchair football

Australia’s emergency service personnel and military members came together ahead of ANZAC Day for a range of activities, proudly supported by Military and Emergency Services Health Australia (MESHA).

The Australian Combined Emergency Services (ACES) team and participants from the Invictus Pathways Program (IPP) faced off in an epic battle of wheelchair football, which was held Thursday 21 April 2022 at The Lights Community and Sports Centre.

MESHA has proudly supported the ACES team, formed of current and ex-serving first responders around Australia who have historically come to Adelaide each year for sporting activities in the lead up to ANZAC Day.

The ACES team faced participants in the IPP, who are Australian military members and first responders who have physical, emotional and/or psychological conditions from service.

This unique opportunity brought together a group of like-minded people with a selfless attitude and community commitment, which created a unique opportunity for both groups to share and benefit from this experience.

Karen May, Associate Director of MESHA said the friendly games were a great chance for both teams to enjoy competing against each other in wheelchair football and bond over sport, something that is ingrained in the Australian culture.

“The ACES team and the IPP team learnt about wheelchair football before the game. Their spirits were high as was the competition between them and with the ACES team being capable athletes, they took to their able-bodied wheelchair sport with great form,” Karen said.

“It was a wonderful morning which also gave the IPP players the opportunity to share their stories of mental health challenges and recovery and how they used MESHA’s programs, such as the IPP to build confidence, their goals and develop a new identity.”

The ACES team also competed against the Australian Defence Force (ADF) All Stars for their annual clash before the ANZAC AFL match between Port Adelaide and West Coast at Adelaide Oval.

The ACES team claimed victory in a game that was an excellent display of strength, athleticism and sportsmanship.

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