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Tennis Player's Reaction Left The Crowd In Tears After His Partner Had A PTSD Flashback

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The Invictus Games, created by Prince Harry in 2014, are not a typical sporting event.

There are heated matches, medal ceremonies, and cheering crowds, but the athletes who take to the field are not professionals.

Instead, all of the men and women competing in Invictus are injured or sick former service members, and the games are meant to celebrate their courageous spirits.

Invictus Games Prince Harry
Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games to celebrate the bravery of sick and wounded veterans.Sgt. Cedric R. Haller II - DoD

And a viral moment from a tennis match this week perfectly demonstrated what these games are really all about.

"I can still feel everything and smell everything. That very split second, it all comes back in my head."

Wheelchair tennis partners Paul Guest of England and Edwin Vermetten of the Netherlands had only met a few hours before their first match at this week's games.

But the Dutch player didn't hesitate to stop their game when one of Guest's disabilities sidelined him on Monday.

Guest, a former mine warfare specialist who was injured while serving in Northern Ireland in 1987, has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Paul Guest
Paul Guest was injured while serving in the Royal Navy.Help For Heroes

As he later explained, a helicopter flying over Sydney, Australia's Olympic Park triggered a flashback that kept him from serving the ball.

"I get all hot, I still feel the burning," Guest told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about his flashbacks.

"I can still feel everything and smell everything. That very split second, it all comes back in my head."

Vermetten says he quickly spotted that something was bothering his partner.

Paul Guest Edwin Vermetten
Vermetten sang "Let It Go" from Disney's 'Frozen' to calm down his partner.Getty Images

"[Guest] made some movements with his head and I immediately noticed he needed some care," he remembered.

"I said look in my eyes, look in my eyes, and he did."

The touching moment was captured on camera, and the Invictus Games wrote on their website that fans were moved to tears by the act of sportsmanship.

"[We were] just singing a song from Frozen - 'Let It Go.' We were singing it together just taking my mind off it..."

Vermetten wasn't just quick to comfort his partner during the panic attack, he also had a surprising way of taking Guest's mind off the helicopter.

"The guys got around me," Guest remembered.

"[We were] just singing a song from Frozen - "Let It Go." We were singing it together just taking my mind off it talking rubbish in my ears and that's what it is all about."

Guest was able to get back into the game with help from his partner, and later called Vermetten "an inspiration on court."

"It was like I had known him all my life, he is just one of those guys that you bond with straight away."

Fans say the moment exemplified why the Invictus Games are so moving.

After leaving the Royal Navy, Guest had injuries to his neck and spine, partial deafness, limited vision, PTSD, and needed 24-hour care.  

But he says teammates like Vermetten look past his disabilities to connect with him.

"You are here, it doesn't matter," he explained. "These guys don't see disabilities, they just make us feel welcome all the time."

And while Guest and Vermetten earned the crowd's respect, win or lose, they can proudly say they earned a silver medal.


What a heartfelt moment! Congratulations to this awesome team for winning silver!

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.