EXCLUSIVE: President Bush Hopes Invictus Games Will Put Wounded Vets in the Spotlight

This year's Games run from May 8-12 in Orlando, Florida.

ByABC News
May 9, 2016, 11:39 AM

— -- President George W. Bush is confident the attention on the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, will also lead to more care for, and commitment to, wounded troops.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, who was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006, Bush acknowledged more needs to be done to help the nation's many injured servicemen and women.

"And, part of what we gotta do here in America, and in other countries as well, is to ... teach people how to deal with these vets, and teach the vets that they can get help," Bush said. "And so it’s a giant gap that a lot of us need to work to close.

"And, uh, I can’t imagine [how] it may be for a soldier who says, 'I got a problem,' who shows up, and the person ... either misdiagnoses or isn’t sure how to treat it," Bush further explained. "And, one of the things we’re doing at the Bush Center, along with other people, is to deal with stigma and then encourage caregivers to understand how to do their job."

The Invictus Games bring wounded, injured and sick veterans from around the world to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing, among others.

Bush applauds Prince Harry, who created the Games in 2014. "I do appreciate two things about [Prince Harry]," Bush said. "One is, he served his country in the military, and two, he decided to do something positive when he got out of service and I think this is a great contribution to the vets...."

Apart from physical wounds that are easy to see, Bush said he was also concerned with "the invisible wounds of war".

"Altogether, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America group estimates that nearly one in three people deployed in those wars suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or traumatic brain injury. That would mean 500,000 of the 1.5 million deployed to Iraq," according to Neiman Watchdog.

"Part of the issue that some troops face is that they believe nobody can understand how they feel," Bush said. "And so one of the thing about Invictus is these troops have got shared experience and they are able to kind of relate to each other much better. The real challenge for our country, and other countries, is to convince these troops that they need to seek help...."

The Invictus Games run from May 8-12, and feature some 500 competitors from 15 countries.