From Afghanistan to Paralympic 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 land mine. Seriously injured but still conscious and aware he'd bleed out and die within minutes, Curtis, 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, Curtis 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 more than 700 kilometres from Sydney to Brisbane to raise funds for Mates4Mates, which supports current and former Defence Force members. A year later, Curtis 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, Curtis won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.Now a ten-time world champion gold medallist, Curtis recently stormed to victory at the Tokyo Paralympics to bring home two more Paralympic gold medals for Australia. Passionate about the power of sport to transform lives, he's ready at last to share his extraordinary story, and how he has approached every setback and challenge with courage, resilience, humour and grit.