Health & Families

Former Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark: A Parkinson’s diagnosis is not the end

Dave Clark is determined to show that life does not end with diagnosis, as he continues to battle Parkinson’s in a positive way.

It would be easy for Clark to be bitter about things after the illness forced him to retire from his dream job as a Sky Sports presenter, where he fronted the broadcasters’ coverage of darts and boxing for nearly two decades.

He can remember the exact time and date when his life changed forever – 9.47am on January 26, 2011 – and it was just a couple of minutes later that the diagnosing doctor asked him about the size of his mortgage and how old his children were.

Unsurprisingly, Clark admits he was struck by a sense of doom, but was intent on doing things differently.

Having seen his father slowly succumb to the degenerative neurological condition, he did not want to hide away, and continued presenting for a further 10 years before eventually retiring during the pandemic.

The 56-year-old, who has two sons of his own, is now enjoying his forced retirement, having hiked across the Serengeti, swam in Australia’s coral reef and – most importantly for him – seen Bruce Springsteen’s opening night of his world tour.

‘The Boss’ is Clark’s hero and it is fitting that ‘No Surrender’ is the song that keeps him going in the dark moments.

But he does not allow himself to think about the worst, instead focusing on living every day to its fullest.

“Parkinson’s gives you a sense of time. It’s a chronic neurological degenerative disease, it’s not going to end well,” he told the PA news agency ahead of World Parkinson’s Day on April 11.

“You appreciate every day. I thought I had to set an example to my kids and to other people with Parkinson’s because it’s not the end at diagnosis.

“I have met some amazing people, I have done some travelling I wouldn’t have done and done some brilliant things.

“I have had nightmares when I have been sitting in a corner and been unable to move, but I really do try not to think about the end.

“I can clear my mind and live in the moment and just think about tomorrow. If I wake up in the morning it’s a good day, just enjoy every sunrise.

“Positivity is a massive thing. If you can prove that life is not finished when you get Parkinson’s then that is a great gift to people.

“What happened to my dad was tragic. I don’t want to see people go through that again.”

Clark, who has to take medication every three hours to help control his symptoms, is hopeful that a cure can be found, but says it may come too late for him.

“Hopefully we will find a cure,” he said. “But it robs your ability to talk, walk and smile and you become incontinent.

“It’s pretty serious, you end up not in a good state. That’s the bottom line.

“They always say five years’ time, but it has been five years for the last 30. They will find a cure eventually but it might be too late for me.

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