In­ver­ness man cho­sen for Team Canada

MacIs­sac, a fomer Cana­dian Army Com­bat En­gi­neer, med­i­cally re­leased from ser­vice in 2013

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

A re­tired sol­dier from In­ver­ness has landed a spot on Team Canada for the Invictus Games, which will be held in Canada for the first time later this sum­mer.

Car­son MacIs­sac, a fomer Cana­dian Army Com­bat En­gi­neer, was med­i­cally re­leased from ser­vice in 2013 af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

The Invictus Games was started in 2014 to help ser­vice­men and women like MacIs­sac, who have been injured dur­ing ser­vice, find mo­ti­va­tion to move on. For MacIs­sac, they are do­ing just that.

“I knew I was re­ally go­ing to push my bound­aries while do­ing this,” MacIs­sac said, ex­plain­ing why he wanted to com­pete in the games. “And to be a mem­ber of team Canada and be a part of the team… it’s a lit­tle over­whelm­ing but I am up for the chal­lenge.”

MacIs­sac, who is train­ing to com­pete in golf, said since be­ing re­leased from the mil­i­tary, he hasn’t got­ten in­volved in many things be­cause of his in­jury.

“PTSD is, for lack of a bet­ter term, it’s a strange ill­ness,” he said. “Some days I can be 100 per cent my old self in a lot of ways. Then other days, I can’t quite put my fin­ger on it, I can be trig­gered by some­thing and I go into my own shell. I can’t com­mu­ni­cate be­cause I am try­ing to fig­ure it out in my own head.”

One of the things MacIs­sac can have dif­fi­culty do­ing is speak­ing to peo­ple, whether they are strangers or old friends. For him, golf is help­ing him over come this and other things.

“It’s ther­a­peu­tic for me,” he said. “When you get out on the golf course, it takes about four hours on av­er­age to do a round and you usu­ally are play­ing with other peo­ple and hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with them.

“It’s also a good test for me to try and calm the nerves and fo­cus on my shot, but not over fo­cus. It helps me on a lot of lev­els.”

MacIs­sac en­listed in 2000 and over his 13-year mil­i­tary ca­reer he did two tours in Afghanistan, one in Africa and one in St. Louis, Mis­souri, as part of the Hur­ri­cane Katrina re­lief.

Since re­tir­ing from the mil­i­tary, MacIs­sac has been a stayat-home dad. But when his son started school in Septem­ber, he started to lose his fo­cus dur­ing the day.

“Ev­ery­thing I was do­ing through­out the day was more aimed to tak­ing care of him. Then af­ter school started and he got on the bus at 8 a.m., I was kind of stuck for what to do,” he said.

“Then the op­por­tu­nity with the Invictus Games came up. It was the best pos­si­ble time for it.”

To pre­pare for the games, MacIs­sac has gone to a train­ing camp in Vic­to­ria, B.C. and one in Kingston, Ont. and hopes to hit a lo­cal driv­ing range ev­ery­day. Cabot Cliffs golf course has given him five free rounds and four free ses­sions with their golf pro to help with his train­ing and the golf pro has of­fered MacIs­sac more if he needs it. MacIs­sac also hopes to get to the driv­ing range ev­ery­day to hone his skills.

He also goes out in his back yard to prac­tice his swing, with his son, Colton, by his side. The six-year old said he’s go­ing to be his dad’s per­sonal train­ing part­ner.

“The games are giv­ing me back my self-con­fi­dence and I am re­al­iz­ing things I wasn’t able to do post in­jury I am still able to do and things can get bet­ter,” he ex­plained.

©SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Car­son MacIs­sac, a re­tired sol­dier from In­ver­ness, is happy to be rep­re­sent­ing Team Canada in this year’s Invictus Games in Toronto.

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