Former Senior Aircraftsman Matt Neve will be representing the United Kingdom in the archery event later this week at the Invictus Games, but up until last year he'd never even held a bow and arrow. In this guest blog, Matt tells us all about his journey to Invictus. Aircraftsman Matt Neve will be representing the United Kingdom in the archery event later this week at the Invictus Games, but up until last year he'd never even held a bow and arrow. In this guest blog, Matt tells us all about his journey to Invictus.
I joined the Royal Air Force as a driver in 2001 at just 16 years old. Sadly my career was cut short sooner than I'd hoped when I was medically discharged with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in October 2004.
When I was discharged, I received very little support. My relationship with my wife began to break down and I became very angry at the world. In 2015, I started a new job and it was a particularly difficult time for me.
A year later, in June 2016, I took part in an archery taster session, after a friend told me about the physical, psychological and social benefits sport can often have.
When I took part in the session and one of the coaches said I had a natural ability in archery, it felt great and that's where the Invictus Games dream started really.
When I'm drawing the bow I'm only thinking about one thing; hitting that target. It allows me to focus my attention and forget about everything else around me.
I approached the RAF Benevolent Fund for support in funding my archery equipment to enable me to continue my sport recovery.
Following successful try-outs earlier this year, I was notified last month that I'd made the Invictus Games UK squad.
To be selected for the team was huge; it gave me a real sense of pride! It helped me realise that perhaps I am worth something and can achieve my goals if I work hard. I had a real sense of achievement and self worth.
My focus now is to bring back the gold!
My wife and children will be joining me in Toronto which will be great. People often forget about the families, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family.
Sport has helped my recovery by giving me something to focus on other than my mental health, it helps me switch off and focus. It makes me look forward to what I can achieve and aspire to. Most of all it makes me believe in myself.