A ‘SUPERHUMAN’ former army major who works at University Hospital Coventry (UHC) is helping to lead the UK team at the Invictus Games in Canada next week.
Dr Jen Warren, who lives in Rugby, was named vice-captain of the UK Armed Forces Team after winning eight silver medals and one gold at last year’s tournament in Florida, USA.
Jen suffered severe nerve injuries which affected her ability to use her left leg after a 2008 skiing accident.
The anaesthetist, who now predominantly uses a wheelchair when working in the theatres at UHC, jetted off to Toronto to take part in the international Paralympic-style event for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans.
She will once again represent the UK in her racing wheelchair on the athletics track, on her handbike for the road cycling, and in the pool for the swimming events.
Jen said: “It was amazing to be part of the 2016 games, and in my wildest dreams I never imagined I would win so many medals.
“I was inspired to train for the Invictus squad after watching the 2014 games on TV, and participating last year was a life-changing experience.”
She said it was an honour to be selected, let alone be named as vice-captain, after coming through tough trials for this year’s tournament.
And she is especially proud to be able to support her teammates – over 60 per cent of whom will be making their Invictus debuts in Toronto.
“It’s really special to know people were inspired by me last year, so signed up and got selected this year,” she said.
“The brilliant thing about Invictus is the chance to meet and compete against service personnel from all over the world. I’m not the only Invictus athlete working in medicine or healthcare, and it’s great to share experiences.
“I’ve learned a lot from my time as a patient and it’s amazing to see what can be achieved whatever someone’s illness or injury. I have loved seeing what team mates have achieved beyond Invictus, so I’m really excited for the new faces on this year’s team.”
Jen, who lives with her husband Jon and three-year-old daughter Sally, added: “I feel participating in para sport helps me to be a better doctor and mum. It’s obviously helped my fitness which gives me more independence but it’s also given me more confidence and helps me cope psychologically with my busy job as an anaesthetist and the day-to-day challenges of my disability.
“It’s fantastic to put my training into practice. While I am competing against others, I feel my main competitor is myself; I’m always looking to do my best.
“I’m really looking forward to representing former servicemen and women and raising the profile of para sport.”
The Invictus Games were launched in 2014 by Prince Harry. This year’s tournament, in which 550 wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel from 17 nations will compete in twelve sports, takes place from September 23-30. Events will be broadcast on the BBC.