Warrior Games athlete credits wife with being real warrior

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 2017 Warrior Games is just a week away. This year's competition will be held right here in Chicago, marking it the first time the games will be held outside a military base and open to the public.

Eyewitness News Anchor Stacey Baca sat down with a local athlete to discuss his road to the games and the heroes in his life.

"There was a submarine fire set by a civilian ship guard worker. The flames the smell, the sights and sounds still stick with me now," said Ryan Shannon.

For Shannon, this was the first of many injuries he sustained while serving in the Navy.

"I took another sailors feet to the back of the head, like right in here. I was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. I went to Pearl Harbor and broke my foot. I had done severe nerve damage and I was in complete paralysis to my left foot," Shannon said.

In spite of it all, he doesn't call himself a warrior. That is title he gives to his wife.

"I give a lot of credit to my wife. I always say my wife didn't marry this version of me. My wife married somebody else then all these injuries happen and she's still there, pushing through and assuring me that I'm going to be alright, everything is fine," Shannon said.

And when you ask where his inspiration comes from, he says, "My kids, easily my kids. I get to watch them grow up. That kind of lifted me up into pushing forward and redefining myself in who I am and what I can do and trying to prove to not only myself but other people that I might be damaged but I'm not broken."

Shannon is competing in swimming, track and seated volleyball. He says he is looking forward to having his wife and kids in the stands cheering him on at this year's games here in Chicago.

He wears his love for the city on his sleeve.

"I just got goosebumps thinking about it right now. For the people coming in off the streets the civilians, the people who support our military, support our troop, even kids.... You're coming in and you're going to see that anything is possible," Shannon said.

The games run June 30 through July 8. Tickets to the opening ceremony are still available with headliners Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson. All the sporting events will be free and open to the public. ABC7 is a proud partner of the Warrior Games.

CLICK HERE to get tickets.

CLICK HERE to see the full schedule.

CLICK HERE for more information about the 2017 DoD Warrior Games.
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