'I just broke my neck'

Madison Erhardt

Mike Shaw, a former competitive freestyle skier, survived a near-death workplace incident as a young skiing coach.

Shaw spoke at the go2HR Tourism and Hospitality Occupational Health and Safety Summit at the Capri Hotel Friday afternoon, educating people about the importance of safety at work.

In 2013, at 27, Shaw was performing a routine trick when he landed badly and dislocated his neck, paralyzing him from the neck down. He knew right away what had happened.

“I was wondering why I couldn’t stop sliding down the hill or get up and then it hit me…a hard hit to the face followed by a sharp pain in my neck. I knew instantly I was paralyzed.”
“On the way into the jump, I [felt] a gut-sinking feeling. My instincts were telling me something was wrong, I heard my inner voice telling me not to go, but I ignored it,” he added. 
Shaw spent months in intensive rehab, and was told he would probably never walk again, but Shaw was determined to get back on his feet and get back his independence. Within four months, he was back on snow in a sit-ski.
Now, he shares his story at schools and workplaces throughout the province as part of WorkSafeBC’s Young Worker Speaker Program.

WorkSafeBC continues to focus prevention efforts on young workers.

For more information on keeping safe in the workplace, click here

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