It took losing a leg for Jeff Clark to be ranked #12 in the world in the A1 category. Losing a leg also helped him recognize that tennis is a game that can provide healing through community and truly is a sport "played from the neck up, not from the body down".
Jeff played tennis for most of his life as it was always a way for his family to spend time together. He coached a high school team as well as teaching and coaching his three children on to becoming successful collegiate players. However, his tennis world changed at age 50 with a colon cancer diagnosis and ultimately the amputation of his right leg. In the months that followed, Jeff suffered depression, isolation and gained over 80 pounds.
It was his deep-seated and enduring love for hitting the ball that compelled Jeff to return to the game. He started back slowly and began to connect with other amputee tennis players form around the world, unexpectedly finding him immersed in a whole new tennis community. Seeing players who have overcome so many obstacles in their lives experience the pure joy of playing the game was a motivating factor for him to keep participating. Jeff now plays in multiple tournaments a year, not only as a stand-up player, but in the wheelchair and able-bodied categories as well.
This past August, the USTA/Midwest Section had the honor of hosting the second only Stand Up Tennis Tournament in the United States. Jeff was able to play in this event. The tournament was such a success that the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation has set a goal to help the USTA/Midwest Section host two additional Stand Up Tennis Tournaments in 2019.
Through his involvement in the stand-up/wheelchair/adaptive community, Jeff has noticed that some players find tennis participation to be a challenging financial problem which often precludes them from advancing or continuing their involvement. Your donation can help bridge these funding gaps; the money donated to the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation impacts individual players, like Jeff, directly. Donated funds not only are able to offset tournament fees and travel expenses, but also be utilized to provide players with sport wheelchairs and funding for hosting additional tournaments.
Jeff noted that "when all things looked bleak, tennis changed my life." You can be the person who helps change the life of the next player. Please make your gift online today at www.midwesttennisfoundation.com to do more of what we've always done: Change lives for the better through tennis.