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Sporting event draws attention to wounded soldiers

September 11th, 2014
09:14 AM ET

By Mick Krever and Dominique van Heerden, CNN

As President Obama lays out his plan to fight ISIS, a new sporting event in London is drawing attention to the plight of so many wounded veterans of the last decade’s wars.

A Paralympics-style competition – the Invictus Games, meaning “unconquered” – features the competition of more than 400 wounded soldiers; it’s public brainchild is Prince Harry, himself an Afghan War Veteran.

“It's a story that cuts to the core of a key issue that affects the Western world today in terms of the military adventures,” Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

Medical and technical advances mean that many more soldiers survive the brutalities of war today.

“But the bad news is that these people are essentially now back in society, needing to find a way to contribute and find their place in the world. And governments and military organizations are under pressure to respond.”

The creation of the Invictus Games, she said, is a happy confluence of the need to address veterans’ plight with the success of the official Paralympics.

“Often the Paralympics have better human interest stories. They're more real. They're less commercial. They're less caught up in the whole game of sport’s advertising these days.”

The recent Veterans Administration scandal in the United States, in which veterans were dying while one wait lists, “shows just what terrible pressure there is now on resources.”

“What's needed now is not just a lot of applause at the Games, and hopefully repeats of this experience, but also a real policy and strategy about how to deal with this growing problem of wounded veterans.”


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