From Afghanistan to gold - an extraordinary tale of tragedy, resilience and triumph
In 2012, combat engineer Curtis McGrath was serving in the Australian army in Afghanistan when, in the line of duty, he stepped on a mine. Seriously injured but still conscious and aware he'd bleed out and die within minutes, McGrath, as the unit's chief first-aid officer, directed his comrades to apply tourniquets and administer an IV and morphine. Then, as he was stretchered to a helicopter, fearing he would never see his family again, he joked that he planned to become a Paralympian.Just months later, he was up and walking on prosthetic legs, motivated by the opportunity to march with his unit in their welcome-home ceremony. Kayaking gave him a new sense of purpose, and in 2013, he and his father, Paul, paddled 1000 kilometres from Sydney to Queensland to raise funds for Mates4Mates, which supports current and former Defence Force members. A year later, McGrath captained the Australian team at the inaugural Invictus Games in London, founded by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or ill veterans. Then, within four years of his injury, McGrath won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.Now an ambassador for the Invictus Games and passionate about the healing power of sport, McGrath is an 8-time world champion gold medallist with his eye on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. At last he's ready to tell his extraordinary story.