By MaryTherese GriffinNovember 5, 2019
Retired Staff Sgt. Training to Represent Team Army in 2020
By MaryTherese Griffin, U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition
FORT BRAGG, N.C., - You might call retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Shaw a repeat offender - in a good way of course. Shaw is participating in the Adaptive Reconditioning Camp at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in hopes of honing his skills to make Team Army in 2020.
"I definitely want to be on Team Army. I want to be able to stand up there with the other athletes and say 'hey, I'm here! I made it!"
This is a time of redemption for the former Army paramedic who tried out for the team at the 2019 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. This year, Shaw has made some changes he thinks will help him earn a spot on Team Army for the 2020 Department of Defense Warrior Games in San Antonio, Texas.
"I'm definitely stronger emotionally and physically. I'm ready to win some medals, help my teammates and roll through like a tank on Team Army," said Shaw who has lost more than 20 pounds since March, making him a "smaller tank" as he puts it, but he is still mighty and even smarter.
"I really focused on a combination of better eating and exercising, but also the referrals to learn how to do things better. I have learned more about my diabetes, liver and kidney disease and having to make life style changes. Since I knew I wanted to try out for Team Army again, I've been focused."
His focus is still his ability to recover and overcome his injuries sustained during various deployments from 2003 - 2009 and illnesses that have plagued him in the process. The amateur archer finds solace on the range knowing it helps him.
"I really enjoy [archery]. It's just myself, the bow and the target. I was very new to the sport before I entered the Warrior Transition Unit. Now, I practice archery three times a week and shoot about 500 arrows."
Shaw plans to compete in each competitive category this year. He has trained hard to compete. He also says that training is not just exercise and he actually enjoys it. Improvement has become a quest for Shaw. He sets attainable training goals to help keep him on target. "I keep adding a quarter mile a week when I swim so now I'm up to a mile and a half of swimming."
Much like his time in the Army, Shaw thrives on the comradery with the other wounded, ill and injured Soldiers he is competing with at Fort Bragg.
"Besides the sports part of this, I love getting to spend time with the other athletes because they inspire me. That helps me refuel my tank when it starts to get empty and helps my emotional state. If they're still doing it, I'm still doing it!"