AN Army veteran and a soldier from Catterick Garrison are gearing up to represent their country in the upcoming US Warrior Games – a competition designed for wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Emma Templeton was a Captain in the 5 Armoured Medical Regt when she was medically retired two years ago due to mental health problems related to her time spent in Afghanistan with Operation Herrick 17.

Ms Templeton also suffers from chronic fatigue and, since her discharge, she has been unable to work. For someone who has always been super fit – prior to joining the Army she was a water sports and fitness instructor – not being able to compete in triathlons and marathons like she used to really hit her hard.

“I joined up, at the age of 26, for travel, operations, adventure training and sport. I was an extremely fit and robust officer that fitted in very well with the infantry – but my health condition means that I can no longer take part in endurance sports,” said the 39-year-old, who lives in Richmond.

She has not given up on sport however – instead of endurance, she began to focus on strength and has quickly become an accomplished powerlifter, one of the sports she will be competing in at the Warrior Games, alongside shot put and discus, indoor rowing and swimming – all sports that she can do in short bursts which help her to manage her fatigue.

“Help for Heroes has had a huge impact on my life. I’ve attended courses held at Phoenix House Recovery Centre and received support from the Hidden Wounds team that have made me realise I am not alone in my recovery,” she said.

“Being selected for the Warrior Games has given me a goal."

Captain Ben McComb, is a member of the Royal Artillery, based at Catterick Garrison, but his role within the Army had to change after damage to the nerves in his legs back in 2012 became progressively worse and prevented him carrying out his former role of troop commander.

The impact of this on his mental health has been huge and Capt McComb struggled to cope until he realised that, just because he can’t do the sports he used to love, doesn’t mean he can’t still compete. Swimming is his favourite of the six sports he will be competing in.

“My injury has a huge impact on my day to day life. I’m in so much pain when I walk that I often can’t even play with my children. All this pretty much destroyed my mental health, but now I am very much on top of things, very proud to be competing which has enabled me to remain focused and positive."

The Warrior Games takes place from June 21 to 30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. About 400 competitors from teams from the US, UK, Canada and Australia will compete.