Meet Adaptive Athlete: Shawn Thomas




SSG Shawn Thomas, US ARMY, Ret.


DOB: September 7th, 1987

DOI: February 6th, 2015

Injury: C7 Incomplete SCI - Quadriplegic

SSG Shawn Thomas

Growing up in Tampa, FL, Shawn was a very active kid. He was always playing sports, whether it was baseball, wrestling, or track and field - where he competed in the pole vault and long jump. Through high school and beyond, Shawn tried many jobs - including personal training and renovating houses before deciding to enlist in the U.S. Army on July 26, 2007. He truly found a job he loved, serving in the Army for over nine years in the K9 unit, as a MOUT Sniper, and as a part of the Military Police. 

On February 6, 2015, while on a deployment in Italy, Shawn was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a car that sent him into a coma for nine months. He severed his cervical spine, resulting in the loss of feeling from his chest down. On top of that, he broke many bones, including his jaw. 

Although his recovery journey is foggy, Shawn was eventually moved from Italy to Germany before he was well enough to be transferred back to the states. He spent time in Maryland at Walter Reed, San Antonio, and finally Tampa, FL. By 2016, Shawn had done enough rehab to walk again with assistance from three people. He’s continued to make strides daily, using his background in fitness to push himself beyond the limits and diagnoses given to him. 

Throughout all of Shawn’s adversity, he has remained positive and optimistic about achieving more than what the designation of his injury means. His two sons have been a huge motivating factor to face each day with a fighting spirit and be an example of triumph to them. One of his big goals is to walk again without an assisted device. Shawn is learning to stand on his own and is gaining more and more independence each and every day. Eventually, Shawn would like to get back into buying and remodeling homes like he did when he was younger.