Know the Warrior: From Down Under to On Top

Lieutenant Kirby Watts, Australian Army Captain and Team Australia Competitor

By Sgt. Jason Goselin

Competitors from the Department of Defense Warrior Games come from across the country and around the world. Team Australia is composed of members of the Australian Defence Force, who have traveled thousands of miles to partake in adaptive sports. The Warrior Games provides opportunities for athletes  to progress in their recovery journeys alongside troops domestically and abroad. 

Lieutenant Kirby Watts is a former Australian Army Captain, who made the switch to the Royal Navy following a motorcycle accident. She’s traveled to the Warrior Games with Team Australia to compete in every event–8 in total. 

“This is my first Warrior Games and my first time overseas,” said Watts. “It’s been nothing but a dream, I feel really privileged.”

Watts is using adaptive sports as a tool to rediscover what she’s capable of. 

“Being able to come to this competition has given me exposure to a lot of sports that weren’t on my radar,” said Watts. “They’ve given me permission to move forward.”

The understanding and compassion of people with similar stories to her own has been therapeutic for Watts. 

“Meeting people from so many different walks of life, all with their own struggles, and to be united through those is great,” said Watts.

The relationships Watts discovered exceeded her expectations. She’s formed strong bonds with both her teammates and her fellow competitors. 

“To form alliances on the track was powerful,” said Watts. “I met my soul sister, Lydia Bearinger from Team Marine Corps, she’s been my guardian angel.” 

Watts’s parents and children back in Australia have been following her journey, and their support is what has kept her pushing forward. 

“I have three children, they’re seventeen, ten, and eleven months,” said Watts. “They’ve been my biggest support network.”

While she misses her family, Watts knows she’ll miss the new bonds she has formed with competitors at the games.  

“Now that we’re at the tail end of the competition I’m getting a little sad,” said Watts. “I’m not quite ready to go home.” 

Watts is a firm believer that injuries don’t define the individual. 

“Don’t be afraid to seek those opportunities,” said Watts. “Push yourself, believe in yourself, and be willing to move forward.”

 Succeeding beyond measure is the outlook that Watts continues to pursue.