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For over 15 years, former British Army corporal Mark Clougherty has been battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ever since witnessing the turmoil and tumult of the Iraq War in 2003.

Enduring setback after setback both mentally and physically for the father of three remains determined. While he has had PTSD since 2003, Mark wasn’t diagnosed until six years later after suffering a bad leg break while playing in the Irish League with Moyola. And again, unbeknown to him, he was told at his consultation he had been suffering from a second underlying case of PTSD since 2005 when he was treated for testicular cancer.

Mark and team mate Dan Phillips hugging
Mark hugs team mate Dan Phillips - Help for Heroes

“My PTSD has affected me a lot more as a result of my medical discharge and the loss of being part of a team, either as soldier or as a sportsman and, to have enjoyed the spirit and camaraderie of that environment and have it taken away has been difficult.”

At the Invictus UK Trials in Sheffield in 2019, Mark excelled in cycling. “When I raced at the time trial in Sheffield, that was only the second time I’d actually been out on the hand bike outside so to get a medal, it was a bit of an emotional one,” 

For Mark sport is a release, with the endorphins and the adrenaline both boosting his mood and nourishing his natural competitive instinct.

mark is presented with a gold medal in athletics
Mark wins gold in athletics - Help for Heroes

“Sport has always been a massive part of my life, it gives me something to focus on. For me, this has all been about learning and just pushing yourself, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. Being able to participate in the Invictus Games and represent Team UK would allow me to enjoy that participation again within a team environment but, more importantly, as a tool in dealing with my PTSD and in helping my family as a whole. I plan to positively focus on trying to continue my journey towards recovery whilst helping others to do so as well.

“When the Games were first postponed there was a real coming together of Team UK, we organised training sessions and coffee mornings online and it was great to still feel part of the group. However, the Games were postponed again and I contracted Covid, as did the rest of my family, and that with the disappointment of the Games being further delayed affected me mentally and my motivation really dropped.

“In July 2021 my wife and I became grandparents to a lovely grandson named Ollie. Knowing he and my family will be at the Games supporting me has helped rekindle the fire, and thanks to a good friend, Kevin Lagan, I've got my training back on track.” 

Mark proudly wears his Team UK kit
Mark proudly wears his Team UK kit - Help for Heroes