In­vic­tus Games turned war vet­eran Kelly Scan­lan’s life around

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS -

TORONTO When Kelly Scan­lan first signed up for the In­vic­tus Games af­ter serv­ing in Afghanistan, she didn't re­al­ize the sport­ing event for wounded sol­diers would pull her out of years of phys­i­cal and men­tal in­juries.

Scan­lan first joined the Cana­dian Forces at the age of 16 and started train­ing to de­ploy to Afghanistan at 18. Dur­ing her train­ing, she suf­fered her first in­jury, a com­pletely torn lig­a­ment in her leg. She de­cided to push through the pain and de­ploy any­way, and at age 19, she left to spend eight months on tour as an in­fantry sol­dier in Afghanistan.

“Even­tu­ally I stopped go­ing to the doc­tors, be­cause none of them seemed to have an an­swer for me,” said Scan­lan. “I fig­ured this was just how it was go­ing to be and just pow­ered through.”

But when she re­turned home, the in­jury had wors­ened. Be­cause the tear changed how Scan­lan moved en­tirely, it shifted the en­tire right side of her body out of align­ment and meant that she would have to re­learn how to walk prop­erly. She had trou­ble us­ing stairs and was less ac­tive in gen­eral as a re­sult.

Doc­tors told her she might never fully re­cover.

Be­yond the phys­i­cal in­jury, com­ing back home af­ter serv­ing abroad was a tough tran­si­tion. “When you first come home, it's a lit­tle strange be­cause most of life is still the same,” ex­plained Scan­lan. “But there's lit­tle changes here and there, and you're try­ing to find your place again, try­ing to fit in a puz­zle piece that slightly doesn't fit in any­more.”

It was around that time that the men­tal ef­fects of her sit­u­a­tion started pil­ing on, and she started notic­ing some days where she didn't feel right.

“It was day here or there, then it be­came a week, and then it be­came months at a time,” said Scan­lan, who was then di­ag­nosed with post-trau­matic stress in­jury and de­pres­sion about a year af­ter re­turn­ing home.

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