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. Withstanding setback after setback both mentally and physically for the father of three remains determined.
While he has had PTSD since 2003, Clougherty wasn’t actually 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. “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.”
Mark competed at the recent Invictus UK Trials where he 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 Clougherty, sport is a release, with the endorphins and the adrenaline both boosting his mood and nourishing his natural competitive instinct. “Sport has always been a massive part of my life, it gives me something to focus on,” he said. “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.”