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Athlete Spotlight – Daniel Clarke: Motivated to Adapt and Overcome

January 7, 2022 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command

WASHINGTON – Navy Diver 2nd Class (Ret.) Daniel Clarke, an eight-year Navy diver, joined the Navy Wounded Warrior program in November 2018. In February 2019, just two months after being released from the hospital, Clarke attended his first Navy Wounded Warrior adaptive sports event.

Clarke shared that, “At my first camp, I was still pretty fragile. I felt like I couldn’t really do much physically. At that point it was really about having the opportunity to meet people... I immediately felt connected to the people there.”

He said that the sense of community is what drew him in. “It doesn’t matter what injury or illness you have. The experience is parallel in more ways than you would think,” Clarke expressed.

Clarke described himself as being adaptable. “The survivor isn’t necessarily the smartest person or the person that can do the most pushups. It’s the person that can adapt to any situation and thrive.”

Growing up, Clarke was a devoted athlete. He was on the hockey, swim, and track teams, as well as a competitive kick boxer. “I am used to pushing myself. As a Navy driver, our training was very physically intensive.”

Clarke is a veteran athlete, previously representing Team Navy during the 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games in Tampa Bay, Florida. During previous DoD Warrior Games, Clarke competed in archery, cycling, powerlifting, shooting, and swimming.

Clarke shared that he loves competing in archery. “I was told that I was going to compete in archery, using a recurve bow. I tried it a few times and I really enjoyed it. It’s very sophisticated. It’s not just aim and shoot. There’s mechanics to it,” he said. After trying archery for the first time in March, Clarke medaled in archery during the June competition.

Navy Wounded Warrior is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families.

The Warrior Games are a Paralympic-style competition among more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, as well as from international armed forces. The 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games would have been hosted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida from September 12-22, 2021. The invitation-only event was going to feature 12 sports: archery, cycling, field, golf, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting (precision air), sitting volleyball, swimming, track, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. The 2021 DoD Warrior Games were canceled due to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our service members and local communities as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to affect the country.


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