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Survivor of near-death workplace accident shares his story

A former competitive freestyle skier will be in Kelowna on Friday, but it won’t be to talk about his ski career.

Instead, Mike Shaw will be sharing the story of how a workplace incident, while he was working as a young ski coach, nearly claimed his life.

While the conference that he’s speaking at is not open to the public, Shaw has previously shared the story of his accident.

In 2013, a 27-year-old Shaw was performing a routine trick while teaching, which resulted in a dislocated neck and paralysis from the neck down.

<who>Photo Credit: Facebook

Shaw says he instantly knew 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 following by a sharp pain in my neck,” he explains. “I knew instantly I was paralyzed.”

He continues on to say that his instincts told him not to make the jump, but he didn’t trust his gut.

“On the way into the jump, I (felt) a gut-sinking feeling,” said Shaw. “My instincts were telling me something was wrong, I heard my inner voice telling me not to go, but I ignored it.”

As he entered extensive rehab following surgery, Shaw was told he’d probably never walk again, but he was determined to gain his independence back.

Within four months, he was back on snow in a sit-ski and just a year after the accident, Shaw miraculously stepped back into his skis for the first time.

<who>Photo Credit: Facebook

Shaw’s story fits perfectly with WorkSafeBC’s campaign about listening to your gut regarding workplace safety.

“If you get a gut feeling that something isn't safe, or you don't know how to do your job safely, listen to your instincts and talk to your manager about it,” it reads on WorkSafeBC’s website.

“It could save your life or the life of a co-worker.”

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