The BSAC National Instructor qualification is the organisation's highest instructor level, and has been held by just 275 members since being introduced in 1966 – now it has been awarded to an amputee for the first time.
Sam Clarke lost her right leg earlier in 2022, but that didn't stop her from achieving her goal of reaching BSAC's most-prestigious grade. She had been due to sit the National Instructor exam in 2020, but then COVID got in the way. Then she had to get back on track after major surgery in January of this year.
Clarke, who is the BSAC North West Regional Coach, was one of only two candidates who were awarded National Instructor status in 2022. It is an arduous and daunting process – during the final exam, candidates are assessed on their instructor and leadership skills across 23 separate elements.
Clarke commented: “After losing my leg, I had to overcome a new set of challenges and work out how I could adapt to be able to not only dive, but also instruct again.
“Getting the National Instructor qualification means a huge amount – it shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I'm proud to be the first amputee National Instructor.”