Curtis McGrath was serving as an Australian Army combat engineer in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, causing multiple life-threatening injuries including the loss of his right leg above the knee and left leg below the knee.

Although he was fighting shock, blood loss and excruciating pain, it was Curtis, as the combat first aid medic for his team, who talked his comrades through his own first aid. Incredibly, as he was being airlifted to safety, he made a vow to them that they would see him see him represent his country again – next time at the Paralympic Games.

After spending 18 hours in an Afghan hospital, Curtis, a New Zealand native, was flown to a US air base in Germany where he was prepared by medical staff to fly the long-haul journey home to Brisbane. After landing in Brisbane, he was hospitalised for …

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Date of birth
31 March 1988
Past Paralympic Games

Rio 2016

Physical Impairment – Right above-knee and left below-knee limb loss
How acquired
Improvised explosive device explosion
Varsity Lakes, QLD
Started competing
First competed for Australia
Sport career highlights

Winning a World title at the 2014 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow, Russia, almost two years to the day after losing his legs

Greatest sporting moments

All Blacks winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Heroes/role models

Richie McCaw


  • Sport: Para-canoe Discipline: 200m Classification: KL2

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