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The life of Cliff Devries: from sad paralysis to motivational coaching

Cliff Devries

Cliff Devries’ tale is one that you can never get tired of hearing. As Cliff gets ready for his birthday to leap into a pool every late October, his story attracts more attention.

Cliff’s dive stands out because it was performed by a person whose Olympic goal had been tragically dashed by circumstance but who refused to let his dashed aspirations define him.

If you met Cliff on the streets, you might assume that he’s had a difficult life, according to a nightline article Cliff wrote.

He has indeed endured hardship. He has managed to emerge from the ashes as a revised and probably improved version of himself thanks to his superhuman self-belief, nevertheless.

Following problems with his spinal surgery, Cliff lost the ability to move his right side

The date of Cliff Devries’ birth was October 30, 1973. He made a name for himself as a swimming prodigy in high school.

Over the course of his time at Rush-Henrietta Senior High School, Devries outperformed the opposition.

He had the athletic frame of a swimmer and a never-ending drive to get better. During his junior and senior years, Devries received All-American recognition.

He received a scholarship from the University of Kentucky. He got started right away at Kentucky, eager to develop his abilities and garner notice on a national level.

He suddenly believed that he could win the Olympics. I believed I had a shot because of my growing skill set and velocity of improvement, Devries stated.

His shoulder, though, ceased synchronizing with the rest of his body. Every time he attempted a tricky maneuver, it let him down.

Cliff said, “I started to lose movement in my shoulder. “I could feel my shoulder getting weaker and weaker. I was having trouble.

Devries sought medical advice, assuming he didn’t have a serious injury. Cliff’s shoulder and arm were unable to move because of a 6-inch tumor that was pressing on his spinal cord, according to an MRI.

Cliff described to the Reporter the horrifying moment when his parents broke the news to him:

“They warned Cliff that he would soon pass away. Your spinal cord contains a sizable tumor. It made me lose my breath.

Everything that had been planned for the future and a family was destroyed.

Cliff had to undergo a delicate spine surgery that lasted 13 hours. Despite losing Cliff at some point during the procedure, the majority of the tumor was removed.

Cliff said, “For a little period of time they didn’t have any life signs on me. They don’t know if I died or if it was equipment failure.

Cliff’s life was saved by the treatment, but he was left paralyzed from the neck down.

His mobility was almost completely lost, his Olympic hopes were destroyed, and the diver’s previously boundless energy was completely sapped by the tumor.

Devries continued, “There were times when, absolutely, I wanted to die.

Cliff Devries
Biography Zoom: Cliff Devries (Source: Instagram)

At Rochester Institute of Technology, Devries is a recognized coach

According to Cliff, “they were essentially arranging for me to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”

But his mental toughness, which he used as fuel to get back on his feet, was not diminished by the surgery.

Cliff had support from his peers and the community, which helped him get through therapy.

However, Cliff’s body didn’t start responding to therapy right away. Devries consequently felt such a sense of satisfaction when he started to see results from his efforts:

“When they got me off the meds, of the painkillers, the antidepressants, the blood thinners – all that stuff, I actually started to see progress… I began to feel better, and my muscles started to feel better.

Cliff was able to use a cane to get around in two years.

Devries vowed, “Not only am I going to walk again, but I’m going to do something with my life.”

His transition into coaching began when his previous high school hired him. Later, Rochester Institute of Technology employed Cliff after he submitted an application.

In order to lead the diving program at RIT, “they took a gamble on a guy who couldn’t walk very well,” he claimed.

After a few years, Cliff quit pursuing a career in accounting. In 2005, he went back to RIT, and in 2006, he started Upstate New York Diving.

Currently, it is New York’s largest diving program.

Devries is a recognized diving instructor. He has earned the Diving Coach of the Year award from the Upper New York State Athletic Conference six times.

He became the first diving coach to receive the Richard E. Steadman Award from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America in 2018.

Cliff receives assistance from his family and classmates during his yearly birthday dive

After his life-altering surgery, Cliff believed that his dream of starting a family had been destroyed.

He did, however, wed Stephanie, his wonderful wife, and the two of them have four kids.

A genuinely uplifting sequence ensued as Devries’ son Corey helped him ascend the stars on his first viral dive, loved ones sang happy birthday as the cliff rolled back the years, and his youngest daughter Grace hugged him as he emerged from the sea.

Every time other coaches came onto the diving boards, Cliff couldn’t help but feel left out.

On nightline, Cliff remarked, “You want to feel what it’s like to be bouncing, to be soaring, and then to go into that water. On my birthday, I’m going to dive, I’m going to dive.

Cliff’s claim that he can live a full life despite his perceived restrictions was supported by the dive. You won’t find a lot of beauty in what I do, he remarked.

But it takes a lot of effort. Many many emotions are condensed into a brief plunge into the sea.

Cliff Devries
Biography Zoom: Cliff Devries (Source: Instagram)

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