Case study

Samuel Harris
RAAF & Army veteran, CEO of Veteran Gaming Australia
Brisbane, QLD

Samuel Harris


From 2006 to 2012, Samuel served in the RAAF reserves while he studied and worked full time.  He then transitioned to full-time service within the Australian Army as an Operator Supply Chain, allowing him to play a pivotal role in providing essential logistics support. During his time in the Army, he was deployed to the 9th Force Support Battalion as part of Force Support Element one and served as a Corporal in the Special Operations Logistics Squadron, where he was deployed to the Commonwealth Games and the Middle Eastern Area of Operations as part of the Special Operations Logistic Node.

He then assumed the role of Research, Investigation, and Stocktaking Sergeant at the 2nd General Health Battalion, contributing to a diverse range of operational and logistical endeavors such as supporting the Bushfire Assist operations in 2019-2020. 


In 2020, Samuel suffered a severe injury during adventure training in Canungra, resulting in a broken neck. The injury gradually began to severely limit his mobility, making even short walks challenging. Coupled with the pressure of maintaining a leadership role and setting a positive example, the strain on his mental well-being became increasingly evident.

Eventually, he needed surgery for his physical injury, which resulted in complete loss of sensation in Sam’s left arm and persistent chronic pain in his neck. Intensive rehabilitation meant that Samuel gradually regained the ability to walk, however the aftermath of his injury left him with “a profound sense of social isolation,” which often left him “feeling disconnected and alone.” 

Samuel Harris


Samuel’s injury meant it was time for him to transition out of the Australian Defence Force, which came with its fair share of emotions and challenges. However, he credits “embracing adaptive accessibility devices and integrating them into [his] regular physiotherapy routine,” to making his transition out and recovery journey somewhat easier.  

He also discovered solace and a renewed sense of purpose through his passion for Esports. It became a means of connecting with mates whom he couldn’t physically be with due to injuries and illnesses, as well as geographical distances. The online gaming community, especially among veterans and families, provided a supportive network where shared experiences and interests fostered companionship and empathy during vulnerable moments. 

Samuel Harris and Friend

Throughout his recovery, traditional workouts felt daunting due to physical limitations. To combat this, he incorporated Ringfit and Virtual Reality fitness games into his strengthening programs. This not only helped rebuild his physical strength but also injected an element of fun and motivation into an otherwise challenging process. 

“Despite the inherent challenges, the combination of adaptive technologies, physical rehabilitation, and the pursuit of personal passions like Esports provided a supportive framework for navigating the complexities of transitioning from military service. Whether overseas on duty or back home, the camaraderie of sitting down with mates for a game after returning from the field was a cherished ritual—a chance to unwind, destress, and share laughs.” 

Samuel Harris Veteran Gaming Australia


The positive benefits Samuel gained from gaming led to the creation of the Veteran Gaming Australia community – a platform born from the shared experiences and interests of veterans and their families within the gaming realm. It began as a natural extension of the camaraderie and support found within the Veteran community and off the many supports he himself found off gaming, evolving into a dedicated space where veterans could connect, bond, and thrive. 

Samuel is now the Founder and CEO of Veteran Gaming Australia, dedicating his life to veterans and family members who can use gaming to help face hardships similar to his own.  

Samuel Harris

“Before sport and recreation were introduced into my life, I found myself navigating through challenges without a structured outlet for physical activity. The rigors of military life, coupled with the stressors of deployments, field exercises, training, could take a toll on both physical and mental well-being.

I found great peace in being able to utilise sport as an avenue for reducing mental stress, personal growth and camaraderie through the many laughs you would have on the footy field, within a gaming community and in the gym.” 

samuel harris

raaf & army veteran

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