My Canada Games Story: Ryan Shay

Friday, 4th May 2018

The Canada Games are about inspiring dreams and building champions. Ryan Shay has already inspired many, and he is certainly a champion. 

Ryan Shay's life changed forever on January 10th, 2013. He was involved in a major car accident that resulted in him becoming a quadraplegic.  

"My new life started that day," said Ryan. 

Since his accident, he's refused to take a negative approach to his new life. 

"Right from the go I had a pretty good positive outlook and I kept my hopes up and my feelings up," said the Nova Scotian. "I've always been who I am and I guess the accident just helped bring it out a little bit."

After being in sports his whole life, his newfound focus was becoming a dominant para track athlete. However, a surprise opportunity to compete in wheelchair basketball at the 2015 Canada Winter Games was an offer he couldn't pass up. 

Ryan's incredible ability to adapt quickly was evident as he was a last minute addition to team Nova Scotia and had no prior experience playing wheelchair basketball. 

"They contacted me and said we could use a low pointer for the team and said I should come out and practice with them. I went out and it was fun. The people I met were great so I decided to stick with it."

Ryan strives to be a source of inspiration. 

"You go with what you're given. You just strive to be your best and always have a positive outlook to achieve as much as you can." 

Ryan got another opportunity to represent Team Nova Scotia two years later, this time at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.

He had a fantastic start to the week with him shaking hands and taking a photo with the Prime Minister during the opening ceremony. 

“There were ceremonies done by indigenous persons, a performance by artists including Serena Ryder, they lit the flame and most excitingly I got to shake Justin Trudeau's hand and take a picture with him,” said Shay. “It was a blast and a great way to start the week.”

Later in the week he competed and earned Team Nova Scotia's first medal of the Games, a silver in para discus. 

Ryan's story of strength, determination and tenacity is what the Canada Games are all about, and we're lucky to have him as an alumnus.