Army Veteran, Invictus Games competitor, Mum and sport enthusiast
Brigid Baker served with the Australian Defence Force as a medic and intelligence officer for the Australian Army between 2002 and 2017 and completed several tours of Afghanistan.
It was not until 2017 that she was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression. She said transitioning to life outside the ADF was tough.
“[In Defence] you become so engrained in your routines and your structures and you’re comfortable in the way things occur around you,” she said.
“I became very frustrated with the fact that I was very regimented, everything had timings, everything was planned, and it’s a little more free-flowing in the civilian world.”
Brigid overcame significant mental and physical health challenges to represent Australia in track and field, indoor rowing and powerlifting. She was Australian team Co-Captain at Warrior Games USA 2019 and Athletics Captain of the Australian Invictus Games team Sydney 2018.
Brigid took up power lifting six months before the Sydney 2018 Invictus Games and said the sport has allowed her to a be a role model for her children following her mental health struggles.
“It’s given me an opportunity to effectively restart myself.”
“Winning bronze (in Sydney)recognises the work that my family has done in supporting me in this journey and just literally being there. This is for them as much as it is for me.”
Since leaving the Defence, Brigid has become increasingly passionate about supporting veterans through the healing power of sport. Brigid continues her participation in both Veteran and civilian adaptive sports programs, utilising her knowledge and skills to shed light on the challenges, opportunities and possibilities for veterans and current serving members alike.
Sport is absolutely integral to my rehabilitation. Without it, Brigid finds she can easily slide back into old habits, and not necessarily habits that are good for her health. There is a noticeable change in mood and ability to deal with her condition on the days that she trains. “Sport also gives goals that I can continue to adapt and scale to keep me on track.”
While the Invictus Games was life changing for Brigid, setting her on a path of wellness, support and camaraderie, it’s the steps taken back in the ‘real world’, each & every day, that brings long-lasting benefits and ongoing recovery.
That connection and active lifestyle is now part of Brigid’s routine, with participation in wheelchair rugby, athletics and indoor rowing.
Brigid has several national and international gold medals and records across multiple sporting disciplines.
“(This process) taught me I can enjoy and play sport again, it’s not so much about the ‘winning’ as it is about the participation and support.”