Sport dream beats injury
MARK Daniels might seem “broken” but the hardship in overcoming the loss of his leg has made him tougher than ever.
It’s that grit and determination that has placed Daniels, 25, of Wandi, as the only West Australian to wear the green and gold in next month’s Invictus Games for injured veterans and active service personnel.
“I look around at the other team members — we’ve all gone through hell, we’ve all gone through hardship,” Daniels said. “But when we put that uniform on, we become one unbeatable team. I suppose we’re all broken but we’re undefeated.
“When we stand together, it’s like standing with family and we have that connection of hardship that we’ve all been through.”
Daniels will compete in swimming, wheelchair rugby, indoor rowing, and seated volleyball at the Invictus Games, October 20-27, which was founded by Prince Harry.
His right leg was partially amputated after a horrific car accident in 2015 knocked him off his motorbike.
The accident in Port Kennedy left him with a split femoral artery, a broken neck, 11 broken ribs, a punctured lung, ruptured kidney, a damaged heart and a broken hand.
Daniels was physically and mentally “broken” as he battled with depression and suicidal thoughts.
A friend then encouraged him to take up weightlifting, which gradually helped him regain self-esteem.
Additional surgery in March last year allowed him to wear more agile prosthetics and do more physically demanding sports, including para-triathlons, and obstacle courses such as the Ninja Warrior games.
In the lead-up to the Invictus Games, Daniels has been ratcheting up frequent flyer points training interstate.
Since his accident, he kept his job as an Royal Australian Navy marine technician, working at various bases including HMAS Stirling. Next year, he will become a physical training instructor for the navy.
“I used to use fitness to get through the day-to-day struggles but now fitness has become a way of life for me,” Daniels said. “I can’t wait to wear the green and gold and represent my country through sport.”
Unbeaten: Mark Daniels is the only WA competitor in the upcoming Invictus Games. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper