Article by Nikki Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org (Reprinted from the Cape Breton Post 6 July 2017)
Carson MacIssac, a former 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 overcome 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 stay-at-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 at 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 every day. 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 every day to hone his skills.
He also goes out in his backyard 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 realising things I wasn’t able to do post injury I am still able to do and things can get better,” he explained.