Transcript of 'Resilience' Invictus Games Sydney 2018 video

[PENSIVE MUSIC]

Wayne Hopkins: My name's Wayne Hopkins. I served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 21 years. I originally joined the Air Force as a Radio Technician. And in my first posting, I worked on electronic warfare for the F/A-18 Hornet. I've been discharged now since 2011. I've been in the service for... Or I was in the service for 21 years. I spent a lot of time trying to work out what was going on.

Wayne Hopkins: Yes, you see Invictus Games, you see a lot of media coverage and you see a lot of focus on physical injuries. So that takes away a lot of the focus off people who don't have a physical injury but still have things that they need to deal with. I have both physical and mental injuries, but they're not highly visible. I have a fracture in L4 and L5 and a bulging disc. That affects my ability to bend and flex. I've suffered a full rupture of C4, C5...and C6 in my neck and in conjunction with that, I've got nerve damage down my right arm. Sport, for me, has been a great help of moving forward and in my recovery.

Cindy Hopkins: The positives of the Invictus Games to myself and our children is...watching Wayne re-create himself.
Wayne Hopkins: Continual development for me in a sporting aspect...is similar to an education aspect. It's a matter of analysing the environment, the situation and what you want to achieve, and then putting in the effort to strategise a way to move forward and get to an end point.

Cindy Hopkins: He has been getting some amazing support from people in the cycling and the archery.

Wayne Hopkins: Since joining the Invictus team, I have trained very hard and I am feeling much better with myself. I'm sleeping much better and life is looking a whole lot better overall.

Wayne Hopkins: I've taken up the sport of archery recently and I find that it's a very calming sport. To shoot an arrow straight, you need to be able to relax your body. That's something that is beneficial to everybody, to zone in on themselves...and block out the world.

Wayne Hopkins: I think my advice to other people starting off and realising that they may have post-traumatic stress disorder is to acknowledge that you can't beat it. When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I...I truly believed that everybody else had a problem and not me. You have got to acknowledge what that is and then work with it.

Wayne Hopkins: My message to students about resilience is never give up. There's always a way around a problem and a solution only just needs to be found. My motivation would be to keep on trying new things, improving myself and moving forward.

Cindy Hopkins: It may take some time, however he has always been able to find something in himself that gives him purpose to get up and do something.

Wayne Hopkins: It's unfortunate that when we leave Defence, we fall into a very deep hole of solitude.

Cindy Hopkins: He's assimilating back into society as a whole and, for me, that is the most exciting prospect.

Wayne Hopkins: Some of the things that I'm looking at doing is...learning how to instruct adaptive snow skiing for people who are either autistic or have physical capabilities.

Cindy Hopkins: He is starting to widen his circles of friends.

Wayne Hopkins: I race at local clubs and I'll be encouraging other people to get into that sport as well.

Cindy Hopkins: The quiet confidence that that builds in him is amazing to watch.

Wayne Hopkins: And that's something that I've not felt from outside my family for a very long time. Yeah, when people ask me who is my hero, the first person that comes to mind for me is my wife, Cindy. We've been married for over 25 years now. She's seen me from before I joined the Air Force till after I've discharged. She's been extremely supportive through all of my career, all of my rehabilitation and without her strength and support, I don't think that I'd be where I am today.

Cindy Hopkins: Quality of life after an injury is massive and people sometimes need a bit of help with that.
Wayne Hopkins: I think without that level of support, I probably would have just stayed at home and did what I normally did, which was try not to communicate with other people.

Cindy Hopkins: We had to readjust and that's what you do in life.

Wayne Hopkins: Resilience is a very important aspect of human nature.

Cindy Hopkins: You're more than what your role is. You can always find another role.

Wayne Hopkins: And all of the network we had when we were at work doesn't exist anymore. We rely heavily on our family to move forward.

Cindy Hopkins: [SIGHS] He picks himself up.

Wayne Hopkins: And that's, to me, what resilience is. That's part of our life.

Invictus 2018, I'm excited to actually be feeling good about myself.

[GENTLE MUSIC]

End of transcript

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