Wheelchair rugby: a ‘godsend’ for Australian veteran Trudi Lines

One of the most anticipated events at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover is the wheelchair rugby competition.

Described as ‘murderball’ or rugby meets bumper-cars, seeing the competitors in action illustrates the true meaning of strength.

Six nations will battle it out in the mixed team competition, starting with the round robin pool phase at Quaycentre, Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday. The top four ranked teams will progress to the finals on Thursday.

Veteran Trudi Lines, from Townsville, is the only woman to earn a place in the Australian team, known as the ‘Wheeling Diggers’.

Diagnosed with PTSD after two tours of Afghanistan, the 40-year-old began her journey to recovery with an introduction to the Invictus Games movement by the Mates4Mates support service.

Lines started training last February and upon arrival at Sydney Olympic Park she said, “I feel very privileged and it is a proud moment to represent my country in an adaptive sport.”

Her preparation has included training with the Australian Invictus Team, competing in the Perth RSL Trophy, Wheelchair Rugby National Championships and Equine Healing for Veterans in the Hunter Valley where working with the horses helped her gain confidence and find a purpose.

This whole process is a godsend. I was a little lost for a while and it took a lot to take the first step and I am privileged to now be part of the Invictus spirit.

Refusing to be defined by her illness Lines said she will use the energy and experience from the Games when she returns home to stay involved in the community through sport.

“I will be playing tennis, wheelchair basketball and will finish renovating my miner’s cottage.  Maybe I’ll even start a wheelchair rugby team.”

Tickets are still available for Wednesday and Thursday’s wheelchair rugby sessions, with Thursday evening also set to feature a celebrity match.

Lila Murgatroyd
Invictus Games Sydney 2018