Case study

Luke McCallum
Navy veteran
Isabella Plains, ACT

OVERVIEW

Luke served in the Royal Australian Navy for nearly two decades as a Communications and Information Systems sailor. He was responsible for managing various communication channels on board, ranging from satellite-linked emails to coded signals via visual morse code.
Throughout his service, Luke participated in operations spanning regions like the Middle East, the Solomon Islands, East Timor, and Border Protection duties near Australia.

Luke McCallum indoor rowing

challenge

Following an accident that significantly impacted his physical abilities, Luke’s focus shifted entirely towards returning to full-time service. However, he found himself unable to engage in sports due to persistent pain and limited mobility in his ankles. Despite his love for team sports, Luke felt incapable of participating without feeling like a burden to his team.

After undergoing a limb amputation and battling severe depression, Luke struggled to see a way forward in his life. He felt hopeless and withdrew from social events, unsure of where he belonged. However, after recognizing the potential of adaptive sports, Luke began to explore new opportunities for physical activity and community engagement.

Luke McCallum and son


Journey

With support from organizations like Invictus Australia and Rowing ACT, Luke joined an ADF and Veterans/Families Indoor Rowing group. Through this involvement, he discovered a newfound sense of belonging and purpose. Over time, he not only competed in State and National Championships but also explored various adaptive sports, inspiring his children to embrace inclusivity and diversity.

Participating in adaptive sports through the Invictus program not only improved Luke’s physical health but also significantly enhanced his mental well-being. He regained his independence and zest for life, gaining the confidence to tackle challenges he once deemed impossible.ย 

“Taking that first step, getting out of the house and involved in something new, it may seem scary and intimidating in the beginning, but I promise you that the adaptive sport community will have your back. Be confident. Be brave. Youโ€™ll will be amazed at where it will take you.”

Now classified as a para-athlete by Rowing Australia, Luke aims to excel in rowing and compete at the highest level possible. Beyond his personal achievements, he aspires to mentor newcomers to adaptive sports, giving back to the programs that transformed his life. Through his journey, Luke has learned that while he may never regain his lost limb, he can still achieve anything he sets his mind to.

“I am a better father to my sons; I take much more pride in my work and I look forward to challenges life can bring me. Nothing will give me my leg back, but I can still achieve anything I put my mind to.”



[Since connecting through sport], my mental health is significantly improved, and I have the confidence to try new things and take risks physically that for two decades seemed totally out of reach.ย 

I am a better father to my sons; I take much more pride in my work and I look forward to challenges life can bring me. Nothing will give me my leg back, but I can still achieve anything I put my mind to.”

LUKE McCALLUM

veteran & invictus AUSTRALIA COMMUNITY SPORT PARTICIPANT


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