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Golden Knight recovering after parachute malfunction

Posted September 11, 2015

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— Staff Sgt. Chris Clark is a Golden Knight with more than 4,000 jumps. In July, he was injured during training in Milwaukee when his main parachute tangled as it deployed.

He managed to open his reserve chute 500 feet from the ground.

“I saw a full parachute over my head. I reached up to grab the risers to grab the brakes to slow down, and that’s when I hit,” he said.

Clark broke his foot, pelvis and hip and also damaged his spinal cord. He is in a wheelchair and undergoing grueling physical therapy at a hospital in Virginia to help him walk again.

His wife, Kelly Clark, says she is counting her blessings and now realizes just how dangerous her husband’s job is.

“We weren’t really sure if he – with the spinal cord injury – if he was going to be able to walk, what was actually happening, and it was pretty scary,” she said.

The Clarks spend the weekends together at a hospital, and the couple's 3-year-old son knows daddy's parachute didn't open right. The focus right now is on getting better, returning home and hopefully jumping again with the Golden Knights.

“Yes, I want to jump again,” Clark said. “Absolutely, if I can jump again safely.”

Doctors expect Clark to make a full recovery. He hopes to be back home by early next month.

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  • Ken Heffner Sep 11, 2015
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    A brave man!