Brian Shaw Overcame Leg Infection That Threatened His Final World’s Strongest Man

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

Brian Shaw will end his strongman career on his terms in 2023. The upcoming 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) will be the four-time champion’s (2011, 2013, 2015-2016) last appearance in the prestigious contest. Then, in late August, the 2023 Shaw Classic (SC) will be his last-ever strongman competition. Shaw’s plans to close out his legendary career on a healthy note were almost in jeopardy.

On Apr. 13, 2023, Shaw posted a “Road to WSM” video to his YouTube channel where the athlete revealed he was healing from a right leg infection in late January 2023. While Shaw didn’t initially describe the precise nature or severity of the infection, he says he almost lost the leg.

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In the video, where Shaw lies in a hospital bed in recovery, he doesn’t mince his words about the greatest fear of his infection. He described the worst possible scenario — amputation — which apparently could’ve been one treatment considered.

Fortunately, Shaw avoided this outcome.

“The biggest thing is that it didn’t go into my bloodstream,” Shaw explained. “So, if I would have waited potentially any longer, the big fear would be it going into my bloodstream. Once it does that, the outcome might not be as good, meaning a possible amputation.”

Despite this monumental obstacle in his path, Shaw kept his eyes on the prize. With the ball out of his court, all the strongman could really do was positively frame his situation and hope for the best. Even from the hospital, the legend didn’t let his almost dire circumstances get him down. He kept up with his nutrition with the idea he would eventually leave the medical facility healthy.

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

“When you battle some 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 walk out of here having not lost a lot of bodyweight.”

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Ultimately, Shaw had quite the optimistic outlook, comparing his infection to some of the adversity he battled en route to winning the 2013 WSM title. Roughly three months before that contest, Shaw underwent nerve surgery and still went on to win the show. Following his recent infection troubles, Shaw hopes for similar results this time, as his strongman career comes to a close.

“This has reminded me the most of 2013,” Shaw explained. “In 2013 I had to have a nerve release surgery done approximately three months out from the WSM. So, I’ve been telling myself, as I’ve been sitting here, that this leg infection is not as bad as that.”

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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