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SPARTAN ALUMNUS COACHES USA INVICTUS TEAM

By Nicole Niemiec, MSU Alumni Association


  • Published: 12/08/2017
Spartan Alum, Dr. Aaron Moffett successfully combines the fields of sport and exercise psychology and adapted physical activity as an Adaptive Sports Coordinator focused on the sport psychology and warrior wellness for the US Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports and Resiliency Program. He focuses his coaching, teaching, practical, and research experiences on techniques to maximize all people's abilities, accomplishments, and quality of life.
 
“After leaving MSU, I started the DisAbility Sports Festival while I was a professor at California State University, San Bernardino,” writes Moffett. “When the Department of Defense started their adapted sports programming, they heard about the DSF and reached out to me to see if I was willing to help coach. Since 2010, I have been a coach, program coordinator, or sport psychology consultant for Wounded Warrior programs for three service branches. The USA Invictus team is comprised of service members from each service and is selected by a DoD joint committee. I was then selected by this DoD joint committee to be the 2016 USA Invictus Team Head Coach and then re-appointed this year.”
 
What are the Invictus Games? In 2013, Prince Harry attended the United States Olympic Committee’s and the Department of Defense’s Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center and US Air Force Academy. There he saw how the power of sport could help athletes physically, psychologically, and socially. The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured, and sick Servicemen and women. London hosted the first Invictus Games in 2014. Sydney will host the next IG in 2018 and then back to London in 2020.
 
In 2017, there were 550 wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans from 17 countries who competed in 12 sports. These competitors are the men and women who have come face-to-face with the reality of making a sacrifice for their country. They are the mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives who have put their lives on the line and have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses. They embody the Invictus poem written by William Ernest Henley and are truly unconquerable.
 
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
 
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
 
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
 
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
 
Dr. Moffett’s passion for serving others, stems from his time at Michigan State and how being a Spartan has inspired him to inspire others.
 
“MSU’s ‘Spartans Will’ motto embodies being unconquerable. Spartans will do great things because they are dedicated to making a difference; making this a better place for all people. My dissertation chair, Dr. Gail Dummer, was a huge advocate for showing how sport can change lives, especially those with disabilities. She spent numerous hours teaching me how to write grants and fellowship applications so that we could build these interventions and teach life skills. Spartans Will means they will make a difference but it’s also about Spartans having an unconquerable will to make a difference and Dr. Dummer helped instill that in me.”
 
Dr. Moffett has a deep passion for the games and what they represent. His devotion to this life-changing effort is rooted in witnessing incredible moments and sharing these moments with others.
 
“I cry at every event,” adds Moffett. “I saw a quote the other day on the back of a t-shirt that I think embodies our Warriors. ‘It’s not a miracle that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.’ Our Warriors have gone through such great adversities and overcome some amazing hurdles that most people would not have the courage to try to overcome. All my favorite memories revolve around Warriors following the Invictus motto of being unconquerable. For instance, the swimmer in the picture of the article that the AF wrote now swims with her children though she had to overcome her incredible fear of water after nearly drowning after being tossed by an exploding roadside bomb. The greatest smiles come after being unconquered knowing all the ugly and difficult hurdles one had to overcome to be successful.  I have the greatest job and every day interacting with the Warriors and seeing them overcome these gargantuan hurdles makes everything worth it. I am incredibly fortunate to work with the Warriors of AFW2 and the USA Invictus Team. The staff, especially Ms. Marsha Gonzales our Branch Chief, have an insatiable appetite to providing the best service for our wounded, ill, and injured Airmen that it’s easy to live ‘Spartans Will.’ Our warriors are amazing and I’m just honored that they allow me to be a part of their recovery.”
 
Dr. Moffett dedication is beyond inspiring and he embodies the true meaning of “Spartans Will” in his life every single day.  
 
For more information on the games or to help support them, visit their website at 
http://invictusgamesfoundation.org

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