Invictus Games Medallist calls on public sector workers to get active with CSSC

23rd January 2024

Injured veteran Matt Trigg is hoping to inspire civil service and public sector workers to get active to improve their mental and physical wellbeing by sharing his own experience of finding sport and purpose in the aftermath of a lifechanging injury.

Stoke-On-Trent based Trigg has become an ambassador for CSSC’s 2024 Active Wellbeing campaign which aims to get more than 15,000 civil service and public sector staff active in the month of February.

The 39-year-old Asylum & Protection team leader, who recently won a bronze medal with team GB in wheelchair basketball at the 2023 Invictus games in Düsseldorf, was injured in 2006 while skiing with the Army’s downhill ski team. The horrific accident that saw him have to be resuscitated and left him with lifechanging injuries that made him have to learn to walk again.

“I don’t do anything by halves,” the CSSC Active Wellbeing ambassador jokes, “I’ve had to have 13 surgeries since my accident, I walk with a cane because I have one leg shorter than the other, and I’m now considering a hip and knee replacement at 39. Unfortunately, my issues are only going to get worse, but I’m determined to not let them get in the way.”

“After my accident I spent a year and a half pretty much on my own as I learned to walk again and I was in a pretty dark place. Getting back into sport, specifically wheelchair basketball, gave me the opportunity to climb out of that dark place, get out the house and be social.

“Being active gives me a massive boost both physically and mentally. I know how hard it can be to take that first step, and I hope by sharing my story others will be inspired to tackle their barriers to getting active head on.”

Matt found his love of sport again through wheelchair basketball. His six-year wheelchair basketball journey started after trying the sport out for the first time at the British Legion’s Battleback Centre in Lilleshall.

“I’d never played basketball in my life, and I’d never pushed myself in a sports wheelchair when I tried it for the first time. I just couldn’t even bounce the ball, never mind bounce the ball and push the chair at the same time, it was ridiculous,” he laughs.

“I knew after spending so long on my own I wanted to get active again and be social at the same time. I went on course with the British Legion and tried out wheelchair basketball and it caused a spark.

“It was a bit of a laugh, and I could tell from that first session how beneficial it would be for my wellbeing to carry on training. I returned home and joined my local club, and I was absolutely horrendous for the first season, but I’ve never looked back.

“In six years, I’ve gone from not being able to dribble the ball to competing in the Invictus Games and winning a medal. It’s been an amazing journey that started with me taking that first decision to try something new.

“Taking up the sport has opened doors for me to try other sports as well now. I’ve competed in archery, para weightlifting, wheelchair rugby, I’m trying my hand at skiing again – I even scuba dive. It’s amazing to think how far I’ve come from almost dying and not being able to walk to playing sport again and feeling amazing while doing it.”

After leaving the Army Matt worked in sales for a number of years before a yearning to do something meaningful led him to join the civil service, “I’ve been in the civil service for a year,” Matt said.

“I joined the service because I wanted to do something where I felt like I was making a difference. I’ve found that in this role. It can be tough some days but being active really helps me when I’ve had a stressful day.

“I want my team members and colleagues to hear my story and be inspired to overcome their own personal barriers and allow sport to give them what it’s given me.

“Taking that first step is the most important one.”

This month, CSSC are working in partnership with The Government People Group to once again deliver Active Wellbeing 2024 which is designed to break down barriers and make sports, physical activity and wellbeing accessible to all participants.