The Federal Armed Forces and emergency services together at the Invictus Games

From 9 to 16 September 2023, the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023, presented by Boeing, will take place in Germany under the motto “A HOME FOR RESPECT.” With this motto, the hosts have also committed to ensuring that the competitors not only receive thanks – and recognition for their sacrifices, but also to inspire society with the topics of inclusion and the removal of barriers in everyday life.

This year, for the first time, competitors from the emergency services will take part in the competitions as part of TEAM GERMANY with an exceptional permit from the Invictus Games Foundation. On a one-off basis, two members of the German Federal Police, a representative of the North Rhine Westphalia State Police and a firefighter from Düsseldorf will take part in the Invictus Games. Like the German Armed Forces, the police and fire brigade have long since not only been deployed domestically. Wounding, injury and illness are also part of life for them.

Brigadier General Alfred Marstaller, Project Manager INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023: “German soldiers have been taking part in the Invictus Games since 2014. This initiative builds on the positive effects of the established system of rehabilitation after deployment injury in the armed forces. The experience with the power of sport for individual rehabilitation gained by the Bundeswehr in recent years can now be passed on to our blue-light organisations for the first time. In essence, it is about giving recognition and appreciation to people who have suffered bodily or mental harm in the course of their deployment to society and to support their journey through rehabilitation in the best possible way.”_

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Exchange of experiences in Düsseldorf

No matter how different their areas of deployment and personal strokes of fate, their personal service to society unites them. At a joint meeting, representatives of the Federal and State Police, the Düsseldorf Fire Brigade and the Bundeswehr exchanged views on the different approaches to rehabilitation. Service sport is already a firm pillar in prevention. At the Düsseldorf fire brigade, there are also projects that integrate sport into the rehabilitation services. The idea that sport and training give those affected a new structure in their new everyday life after a wound, injury or illness will also be taken up by the police and fire brigade through INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023.

Be it for the United Nations, the European Union or other international organisations, the Federal Police will support with 1,800 officers worldwide with their expertise. It not only protects German diplomatic missions, but also advises and supports the development of the police system in accordance with the rule of law.

Vice President of the Federal Police Headquarters, Peter Beiderwieden: “For more than 30 years, the Federal Border Guard and the Federal Police have been involved in missions abroad, including in crisis regions such as Afghanistan or Somalia. Together with the police forces of the states and the Federal Armed Forces, the Federal Police support the creation of rule-of-law structures – often associated with high personal risks. We are very pleased that the idea of joint action abroad will also be put into practice at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 and thus at home.”_

Originally, the task of the state police is to maintain security and order within Germany. However, members of the state police have also repeatedly taken part in police missions abroad over the past 21 years. However, their everyday duty in Germany has also become more dangerous.

For police officers, apart from medical and social rehabilitation, professional rehabilitation is of paramount importance. Returning to active duty is an important goal for the persons concerned. As one of the sending institutions, the police of North Rhine-Westphalia intends to focus society’s attention on officers who have been injured in the line of duty and to promote recognition and respect towards them in this way as well.

Sandra Winkler, Chief Superintendent at the Viersen District Police Department, is competing for the first time at the Invictus Games for the North Rhine-Westphalia Police: “My nomination for the German team has brought me great joy and happiness. The nomination for the Invictus Games is a new start for my participation in sporting competitions and means for me to take another important step in my rehabilitation.”_

The fire brigades are a strong community and a reliable partner for safety. The fire brigades also provide support in other European countries close to the border, for example in the event of earthquakes, forest fires and floods.

Director of the Fire Brigade David von der Lieth, Düsseldorf Fire Brigade: “The emergency services in Düsseldorf and throughout Germany make an important contribution to our society every day. They step in when things become dangerous and people can no longer help themselves. Sometimes they suffer serious physical and psychological injuries. The Invictus Games focus on the strength of these people. We are very proud to be able to be part of the German team with a competitor and thus also show our respect for all those who stand up for our safety and our freedom.”_