A DOCTOR at University Hospital is celebrating after being selected for the trip of a life-time to Florida as part of the UK team for the Invictus Games.
Anaesthetist and former Army Major Dr Jen Warren has been chosen to represent the UK Armed Forces Team in athletics, swimming and road cycling at the Games which run from May 8-12 in Orlando.
Jen, who lives in Rugby with her husband Jon and two-year-old daughter Sally, is one of just 110 athletes to be selected for the UK team and she will compete in her racing wheelchair on the track, handbike for the road cycling and in the outdoor pool for the swimming events.
She suffered severe nerve injuries in 2008 after a skiing accident which affected her ability to use her left leg and means that she predominantly uses a wheelchair when working in the anaesthetic rooms and theatres at University Hospital.
Speaking about her selection, she said: “I was overwhelmed and so honoured to be picked for the UK Invictus Games team, and to get the chance to compete against incredible athletes from across the world.
“Being a doctor can be such a physically and emotionally challenging job. Competing in sport helps to focus me, and to manage the additional day-to-day challenges that I face with my disability.”
The Invictus Games were launched in 2014 by Prince Harry and more than 180 WIS military personnel and veterans trialed ten sports for one of the 110 places available in the UK team.
The rigorous selection process was based on the benefit the Invictus Games will give an individual as part of their recovery, combined with performance and commitment to training.
Comprising of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, the team will compete in ten sports across five days, and champion the power sport can play in recovery.
As well as the honour of meeting Prince Harry at the opening ceremony in Orlando, Jen and the other athletes will be mingling with the likes of US First Lady Michelle Obama, actor Morgan Freeman and singer James Blunt.
“I get such a sense of achievement in training for races and events like the Invictus Games – challenging myself to be faster and stronger. Sport has also helped me become more independent inside and outside work.
“I’m so proud to have the opportunity to represent former servicemen and women, and to raise the profile of para sport.”
As part of the selection, Jen was featured on Monday’s BBC One programme about the Games, ‘Invictus: The Road to the Games’, which involved cameras following her at work, at home in Rugby and in training.
“It was really strange to be filmed at work, especially as I’m naturally quite a shy person,” Jen added. ” However for me, sport and my work at the hospital go hand in hand. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved as a doctor as well as in sport and it’s great to show both sides.”
Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy CEO at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, added: “As a Trust, we’re very proud of Jen’s achievements so far, and will be supporting her throughout the Games.”