Invictus Unite - US AF Wounded Warrior program jointly with Invictus Games Team Ukraine held a seminar on adaptive sports for Ukrainian WIS community

Invictus Unite - US AF Wounded Warrior program jointly with Invictus Games Team Ukraine held a seminar on adaptive sports for Ukrainian WIS community

Since the start of operations in 2017, the Invictus Games in Ukraine have gone far beyond sports grounds and have become a powerful driver of sports promotion as an effective means of rehabilitation among Ukrainian wounded servicemen and veterans.

Invictus Unite workshop will unite two Invictus teams - Ukraine and the US - to open new opportunities for sports rehabilitation  and adaptive sports opportunitie for Ukrainian WIS community.

The event, which will take place on February 16 from 11:00 to 16:00 at the National University of Physical Education and Sports will consist of two parts - theoretical and practical.

During the theoretical part, the speakers will discuss sports rehabilitation in Ukraine and the world - the seminar participants will learn how the US sports rehabilitation system is built and how it can be adapted in Ukraine, as well as receive professional guidance on proper treatment, rehabilitation and further sports training. for veterans and servicemen with injuries and traumas, which have led to partial or complete loss of mobility. Participants of the national team of Ukraine in 2017, 2018 and 2020 will also share their experience of recovery with the help of sports.

During the practical part of the seminar participants will be able to try several adaptive sports (wheelchair racing, hand bike racing, adaptive rowing), as well as play sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. For the latter, the US AF Wounded Warrior program has specially brought 10 professional basketball wheelchairs to support adaptive team sports for Ukrainian WIS community.

English translation will be provided during the seminar.

Speakers of the seminar

Oksana Horbach — Invictus Games Team Ukraine manager, Director of Center for Strategic Communications “StratCom Ukraine”

Marsha A. Gonzales — 23-year Air Force veteran, Branch Chief Warrior Care Support for US Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, managing 12 programs that provide non-medical support services to over 10,000 recovering service members, their families, and caregivers; Team Manager for the US Team since the first Invictus Games in 2014. 

Master Sergeant Benjamin Seekell — ex-military working dog handler with the Air Force Security Forces, Team Co-Captain for the Air Force at Warrior Games 2017 and Team USA member at the Invictus Games in Toronto 2017. Events: track/field, cycling, rowing.

Senior Master Sergeant Brian Williams — ex-military working dog handler with the Air Force Security Forces, Security Forces Instructor, Team USA member for 2015 through 2019 Warrior Games and 2016, 2017, 2018 Invictus Games. Events: cycling, rowing, wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis. 

Larry Franklin — retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. During his 10 years with the Air Force, he served 3 tours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In 2007, he was shot by an insurgent fighter while on a quick response force mission at Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, but managed to recover and return to duty. Larry competed in 2013 and 2019 Warrior Games.

Kevin J. Greene — Kevin joined the Air Force in January 2012 as a Health Service Management Craftsman. In 2014, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that caused a left leg amputation below-the-knee. In two and a half years he returned to duty, where he learned about the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program and discovered adaptive sports. Currently, Kevin is a Team USA member for the 2020 Invictus Games participating in cycling, rowing, sitting valleyball and wheelchair basketball events.

Joshua Smith — retired Tech Sgt. of the U.S. Air Force. During the Combat Survival training, Joshua was thrown into a culvert that led to multiple injuries. After sustaining several surgeries, Joshua joined Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. He took part in 3 consecutive Warrior Games in 2017, 2018, 2019, and in the 2018 Invictus Games. He’s co-captain for the 2020 Invictus Games Team US, where he’ll compete in WCB, WCR, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, and athletics (track & field).

Hannah Walker — Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with 14 years of experience coaching adapted sports and fitness programs for wounded, ill and injured military personnel, coach of the Military’s Special Operations Command wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby teams.

Darren Williams — British military veteran with over 30 years of coaching experience. He coached at all levels from adaptive athletes through to elite level competitors. He is a fully qualified British Cycling Coach, Indoor Rowing Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coach and a British Swimming and Triathlon Coach. He is currently working as a coach for the US Invictus Team, US Special Forces Team and US Air Force Team. Darren is also Coaching Team Ukraine in adaptive indoor rowing, handbike cycling and sitting volleyball.

Victor Lehkodukh — Cpt. of the Armed Force of Ukraine, previously a commander of a platoon of the 1st Battalion of the 25th Airborne Brigade. With his platoon, he had been in the ATO zone since its beginning in spring of 2014 taking part in fights near Amrosiyivka, Zelenopillya, Debaltseve, Zhdanovka, Uglehirsk and Starobeshivsk region. In the summer that year, he sustained numerous shrapnel wounds, including one to his spine, after coming under heavy mortar fire. In the 2020 Invictus Games, Victor will compete in rowing, handcycling and athletics.

Maksym Yermokhin — Snr. Lieut. of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Took part in combats in the Donetsk oblast in 2017-2018. During his second tour to the ATO zone, Maksym sustained an injury from a landmine explosion that resulted in a knee-high amputation of his right leg.


2020 Invictus Games Team Ukraine

Team Ukraine selection participants in 2017-2019

Team Ukraine coaching staff led by Serhii Koniushok

Project partners: NATO Office in Ukraine, Crown Agents, Vedi Tour 

Veterans, their friends and family 

Coaches, physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists

Media representatives

Who is this event for?

This seminar is most useful  for Ukrainian veterans and servicemen with disabilities who want to continue to lead an active lifestyle and find the most comfortable and useful sport for further recovery. Invictus Unite is an opportunity to try something new, gain useful knowledge and join a community of people united by similar experiences and a desire to develop despite the limitations.

Coaches, rehabilitation specialists and senior students of sports universities who work or want to work in the field of sports rehabilitation and join the development of adaptive sports in Ukraine are also invited to participate in the seminar.

Participation in the seminar is free by invitation or pre-registration through Facebook event


The visit of the American team was initiated by the Center for Strategic Communications StratCom Ukraine and Oksana Horbach, Invictus Games Team Ukraine manager. The Invictus Unite Adaptive Sports Workshop was organized by the StratCom Ukraine Center for Strategic Communications with the assistance of the NATO Support and Supply Agency and the Ministry of Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine.

Photo reports from event