Posted March 8, 2016
Updated March 14, 2016
The 6th annual Marine Corps Trials, hosted by the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, took place recently at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Selected athletes now have their sights set on the Warrior Games, June 15-21 at West Point, New York! The trials provide an opportunity for all wounded, ill, or injured Marines, Sailors, and Veterans to further the rehabilitation of their mind, body and spirit through competition and camaraderie.
Among the competitors was Marine Sergeant Clayton McDaniel, who became a Team Semper Fi athlete in March 2013.
Clayton was deployed to southern Helmand Province in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD, bilateral hearing loss, bilateral hip injuries and short-term memory loss. We asked him 5 questions about the Trials. Here’s what he told us:
What does competing in the Marine Corps Warrior Trials mean to you?
Words can’t describe what it means to me. I’m grateful for every chance I get to compete alongside my fellow servicemen and women. This opportunity allows us to realize that, despite our injuries, we can still compete at a high level and still have each other for support.
What’s the greatest hurdle you had to overcome to get to where you are now as an athlete?
I just had my right hip totally replaced, on December 11. I‘ve been trying to get myself back into shape so I could attend these trials. It’s been difficult with physical therapy and the doctor approving my leave, but I feel like I’ve prepared myself as much as I can and we’ll see how it goes.
I’ve achieved a total of 17 medals from 2013-2015: 8 gold medals, 8 silvers and one bronze. In last year’s MC Trials, for example, I received silvers in pistol and in archery and a gold in wheelchair basketball.
Is there anything that runs through your mind while competing that serves to inspire you?
Knowing that I have my Marines to my right and left again help me continue to fight the good fight. I loved the feeling in combat knowing I had my Marines, and having that feeling again makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.
Is there anything else about your athletic experience you’d like people to know?
Without Team Semper Fi I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to accomplish so much. They’ve provided me the opportunity to attend camps for several sports I love, and have provided me with equipment to keep me going, even though I’m not near a military installation to train.
So I want to say thank you to everyone at TSF and everyone who donates to this great organization. Your donations help in more ways than you can ever imagine, and I know from firsthand experience that everyone who is a part of the Semper Fi Fund works hard to provide great opportunities for our service members to get out, get help, and get involved with camps that help all aspects of healing.