The Cliff Devries story typifies the extraordinary strength, character, and pain of becoming one of the best in the world. A young man with supreme diving talents looks like a world-beater, gets into one of the most prestigious schools in the world, then tragedy strikes! Here is the story of a world-beater who was touted to dominate the world of diving at the time in his twenties, but fate had other plans for him. But the takeaway from this story is the comeback. Cliff used the setback to stage a comeback, an impressive one at that.
The Cliff Devries Story
From a young age, there was something different about Cliff. Getting into Rush-Henrietta Senior High School was the changer for him. He stumbled at diving and quickly found out that he was good at it. With an elegant body, lissome like that of a professional swimmer, Cliff thought, “why not?” A few lessons from the school’s coach built a star in the making. With constant practice, his brilliance shone. By diving and winning intra-school competitions, Devries became a star. After his high school education, he got a scholarship to the University of Kentucky. With a future all planned up in his head, Cliff strongly believed that he would conquer the world starting from the Olympics. However, this belief only stopped at being a belief, unfortunately.
The Cliff Devries Story: Tragedy Strikes!
Cliff decided to try different routines with a focus and determination to represent his country at the Olympics. Unfortunately, he found out that his shoulders were not as agile as they used to be along the line. He probably did not pay serious attention to this problem before it degenerated into something else. With no ability to dive, he lost his scholarship and was back to zero point. He had to go back to Utah to live with his sister amid profound disappointment.
The Problem Was Bigger Than What He Thought
Having found out that the problem was persisting, Cliff decided to visit the doctor, hoping that the problem was nothing serious. In fact, he believed it was just a pinched nerve that needed little doctor’s attention. So, he asked for an MRI scan to find out what the problem was. When the results came out, he could not interpret the scan; he asked the doctors what the problem was. He became suspicious when the doctor’s face changed. It was then that he knew that the problem was more extensive than he thought.
The doctor gave him the shocking news of his life. He told him, “Cliff, you’re going to die. You’ve got a large tumor (tumour) in your spinal cord.” Instantly, all his preparations for the future disappeared before his very eyes.
Cliff Devries Did A Surgery
To correct the problem, there was a need for surgery. Cliff had to leave Utah for New York for the surgery. The surgery lasted 13 hours as the doctors strive to correct the problem. After completing the operation, the doctors were sure that they had restored Cliff to an average of at least 90%. Alas, the operation had not gone as smoothly as the doctors thought. After the operation, Devries explained, “They lost all the equipment. They don’t know whether I died or whether it was equipment failure, but for a short time they didn’t have any life signs on me.” It was later discovered that Devries had lost control of all his motor functions. In simpler words, his neck became paralyzed down to his spine.
We cannot imagine how much pain he was in. In an interview, Cliff said he sometimes felt like he would die. It was a crazy period in the life of the athlete.
Cliff Devries Story: Physically Disadvantaged, Mentally Resolute
For some other people, the physical challenge may result in the end. But not for Devries. He was mentally determined that this challenge would not be the end of him. For several years, he enrolled in physical therapy. Physical therapies are usually demanding because they try to get your body to do what it used to do after a decline. But his relentless made his body cooperate. As time passed, he started getting a hold of his body and was able to do simple tasks that did not require much strength. In six months, Cliff was up. However, he had to walk using a cane. He used a cane for two years, and in 2019, he was capable of walking several kilometers without feeling weak.
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Cliff Devries Went Back To Diving But To Teach
You’d know a man’s passion by what they do when they are not physically ready to do it. What makes Cliff Devries story enthralling is that he found a way to go back to his first love, diving, despite the challenges that faced him. However, this time around, he wanted to give back to society. So, he became a diving instructor; even though he could not teach them physically, his experience meant he could teach them without stepping on water. Today, Cliff Devries story and videos have been watched by millions all over the world. It is an inspirational story that deserves all the attention it is getting today.
Cliff Devries Dived on His Birthday
In a bid to find out and relive what it meant to be a diver, Cliff, on October 30, 2019, wore his swimming trunks and jumped from the diving board. It was an emotional day for him and for those who knew his story. There is a lesson for us all in Cliff Devries story, and it teaches defiance, mental resolve that, despite the situations around us, we can still succeed doing what we love. It may not be in the same capacity but somehow somewhere else.
What is stopping you from your obstacles? If you ever thought of someone who is not fazed by the circumstances around him, then the Cliff Devries story comes to mind. It is a thrilling and touching story, and we all need some inspiration every day. Well, here is one.