I was born in 1984 in Maitland in NSW to Michael and Debbie Avery.
My dad was in the army so I spent my childhood moving all over the country, including a posting to Adelaide in 1993. One of the best parts of moving all over the country was being able to get an appreciation of all sports as each code has a different popularity level in each state.
I was a very active kid and was lucky enough to play representative rugby union and basketball and compete at state level for athletics.
I was very active in sport until I snapped my ACL the first time on my 20th birthday while playing rugby union in NSW. After this incident, I put all my effort in to my rehabilitation so I could join the Royal Australian Air Force. I got myself fit and enlisted on the 9 of May 2006, when I was 21.
During my time in the RAAF, I was a Service Policeman and then transferred to an Intelligence Analyst that specialised in Counterintelligence. I deployed on multiple operations both in Australia and overseas. My career did leave me with many physical injuries as well as mental health trauma which lead to me being medically discharged in January 2019.
I got into adaptive sports when I heard about the Invictus Games. I knew my career was coming to an end and I started to spiral and was needing something to get me back on track for my daughter’s sake. I heard that Wheelchair Basketball was an option to try out for so I took myself down to a game. I got in the chair and for the first time, my daughter was able to see me doing something active and competitive. She was on the sideline screaming her support and I felt like a king. I knew I had found something that I could throw myself into in the lead up to my medical discharge to make my transition easier.
I was lucky enough to be selected to represent Australia in Wheelchair Basketball at the 2018 Invictus Games held in Sydney.
I had heard about Wheelchair Footy through some of the guys I played basketball with. I went and supported them at the 2019 Nationals that were held in Adelaide. After watching the team succeed, I knew that was another thing that I wanted to take up so that I could continue to show my daughter that no matter what struggles she faced in her life, if she gave her best then she would always succeed.
To date, I would say that my greatest achievement is the ongoing one of being a father. My daughter Savannah is the absolute light of my life and my reason for pushing to be my best, each and every day no matter what challenges I am facing.
The honour of being drafted by Sturt and voted as Captain is another new chapter in my life that is allowing me to live my best life.