Sport

The Hardest Times: How Invictus Has Helped An Army Hero

There's no shortage of emotional stories among those competing at this year's Invictus Games - but for one athlete, recent times have been...

There's no shortage of emotional stories among those competing at this year's Invictus Games - but for one athlete, recent times have been particularly challenging.

Sergeant Kevin Kell is one of the UK's competitors in golf - a new sport at this year's games.

Sergeant Kevin Kell - Invictus Games 2017

In the last two years, he's lost his wife to cancer and been diagnosed with a brain tumour - which was operated on 12 weeks ago.

He's also had to deal with the stress of looking for a new career, after being medically discharged from the Army.

Speaking as the guest of honour at a charity game in a wild and windy Barrow-in-Furness, he said he's "really struggled" but that Invictus has helped him through the difficult times:

"Invictus is good because... [it showed me people] in a worse position than me."

"I've had a hard time but there's other people out there who've had even harder times and got through it... And if they can get through it why can't I?"

The veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq suffered traumatic brain and lung injuries while on tour of the former in 2011, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and a hearing impairment.

He described his baby daughter, who survives her mother, as "amazing". Furness Golf Club captain Ian Murray said:

"What Kevin's endured - and literally survived - to be here today, is... heartwrenching... It's fantastic just for him to be here."

Speaking about how his chosen sport has helped him, Sgt Kell said:

"When I'm playing golf I'm in a bubble. Nothing in the outside world affects me.

"What is there to worry about [when you're playing]? It relieves all my stress."

The week-long 2017 Invictus Games begin on Saturday in Toronto, Canada.

More: Invictus Games: The Nation Hoping To Confound Expectations... Again