Brian Shaw overcame a leg an infection that threatened the strongest man of his final world

The strongman legend almost had a lot of plans up in the air.

Brian Shaw will retire from strongman on his terms in 2023. The upcoming 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) will be the four-time champion’s (2011, 2013, 2015-2016) final appearance at the prestigious competition. Then, at the end of August, the 2023 Shaw Classic (SC) will be his final strongman competition. Shaw’s plans to end his legendary career in good health were almost in jeopardy.

On April 13, 2023, Shaw posted a “Road to WSM” video on his YouTube channel in which the athlete revealed it was him Healed from an infection in his right leg in late January 2023. While Shaw initially didn’t describe the exact nature or severity of the infection, he says he nearly lost his leg.

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In the video, with Shaw lying in recovery in a hospital bed, he doesn’t mince his words when he’s most afraid of his infection. He described the worst possible scenario – amputation – which apparently could have been treatment.

Luckily, Shaw avoided that outcome.

“The biggest thing is that it didn’t get into my bloodstream,” Shaw explained. “If I had possibly waited any longer, the big fear would be that it would enter my bloodstream. Once that is the case, the outcome may not be as good, meaning possible amputation.”

Despite this monumental obstacle in his path, Shaw kept his eye on the prize. After the ball was out of bounds, the strongman could only take a positive view of his situation and hope for the best. Even from the hospital, the legend of his almost dire circumstances could not be defeated. He kept up with his diet with the thought that he would eventually leave the medical facility healthy.

Why? Shaw had his crosshairs on another WSM title and a fruitful end to his career as motivation.

“When you’re faced with adversity like this, you just have to find a way,” Shaw said. “…I’m trying to get five meals in a day right now. The goal is to get out of here without losing a lot of body weight.”

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Ultimately, Shaw was quite optimistic, comparing his infection to some of the adversities he faced on his way to winning the 2013 WSM title. About three months before this competition, Shaw underwent nerve surgery and still won the show. After his recent infection woes, Shaw is hoping for similar results this time as his strongman career comes to an end.

“That reminded me the most of 2013,” Shaw explained. “In 2013 I had to have nerve release surgery about three months before WSM. So I’ve been telling myself as I’m sitting here, this leg infection isn’t that bad.”

Editor’s note: In a follow-up video posted to his YouTube channel on April 14, 2023, Shaw clarified that he was officially diagnosed with an aggressive form of cellulitis — a bacterial skin infection — and spent a total of eight days in the hospital .

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Featured image: SHAWSTRENGTH on YouTube

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