Sport dream beats in­jury

The Sunday Times - - News - REGINA TITELIUS Health Re­porter

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

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