Mission Stadiums for Multiple Sclerosis

My MS Story by Dave Walsh

2nd Strongest Disabled Man in the World 2020

When I was 16, I joined the British Army. I traveled the world, did a tour in Iraq, was a very keen sportsman and an adventure training instructor. I left the forces after 8 years for a more stable life with my wife and kids.

 

Adjusting to civilian life was difficult, so I started weight training and quite soon after that I signed up for my first Strongman contest. After that first contest, I was hooked! I loved everything about Strongman from training to competing. I was competing in competitions all across the U.K. at a good level, qualifying for Britain’s Strongest Man in my federation! However, in 2014 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis! I’ve had a number of symptoms from spasms to mobility issues to hand issues. I have Secondary Progressive MS meaning my MS never gets better just progressively worse. I have multiple permanent scars on my spine due to previous attacks. I now suffer from mobility issues meaning I need to use a wheelchair or other mobility aids. This was a huge blow to me, I didn’t know what to think because MS is called a snowflake disability and no 2 cases are the same! All I knew was I wouldn’t be able to compete in the competitions that I loved…or so I thought!!

In 2016, while searching YouTube and watching people compete in Strongman competitions I stumbled across someone doing disabled Strongman! Immediately, I got on to searching all about disabled Strongman and came across a great community all with the same goals. My first disabled contest was the South of England’s Strongest Adaptive Man where I placed 1st and got the world record in the Seated Deadlift! A few months later, I competed in my first Britain Strongest Disabled Man and placed 3rd. I then took some time away from the sport to focus on my health. When I came back I placed 3rd again and was invited to the 2019 Worlds Strongest Disabled Man competition but this contest was in Canada which was a lot to consider in such a short amount of time.

As the 2020 contests came closer, I was training hard. That’s when Covid happened and we thought the contests would be called off! Luckily, we were still able to compete in December where I placed 2nd in the Strongman Disabled Man in the World competition and came 1st in Britain!

Through my transition from being able-bodied to having a disability, I have learned that your dreams and aspirations don’t have to end. The way you get to achieve your dreams is to learn how to adapt.

I used to be a standing strongman,

Now I am a sitting strongman,

Still a strongman!

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