Invictus Profile: Mike Trauner

A male athlete in red gloves pulls the cord of a rowing machine.
Invictus Games Team Canada athlete Mike Trauner Photo: Corporal Blaine Sewell

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‘One inspires many’. This is Master Corporal (Retired) Mike Trauner’s favourite quote. The former Canadian Army Infantry soldier embodies this quote, and then some. Mike gets his inspiration from his grandmother, who survived the Second World War.

“She was hard as nails, she was very noble and she taught me a lot about life,” says Mike, who lives in Pembroke, Ontario.

Like his grandmother, Mike is also a survivor, and he’s tough as titanium. During his deployment in Afghanistan, Mike stepped on a remotely detonated improvised explosive device in December 2008. He lost both his legs and suffered three breaks in his left arm and 25 breaks in his left hand. Shrapnel was removed from his eyes. Mike spent 13 months in the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre, learning to walk again and has undergone 18 surgeries.

“I recently had two surgeries to save my right leg from further amputation. But in return, I suffered damage to my right arm, as tissue, nerves, and an artery were needed.”

“Being catastrophically injured, many of my joints and limbs are damaged, this limits my abilities. Learning new ways of adapting and overcoming my ailments is what I find to be the most challenging. For example, I used to mountain bike, but now I have to hand-cycle – and my arms and hands are partially disabled as well,” Mike explains.

‘Megatraun’, as he is affectionately called by his friends and brothers- and sisters-in-arms, describes himself as ‘half man and half machine.’ He’s grateful for Soldier On, the Canadian Armed Forces’ program that supports serving military members and Veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport.

“Soldier On provides me with the opportunity to be involved with like-minded soldiers with similar injuries. It’s like hanging out with the troops again, just like old times. Soldier On provided me with adaptive equipment and helps me to discover new methods of training to help overcome my physical disabilities,” Mike says.

Soldier On manages Team Canada – Invictus Games 2017. Ninety Canadian Armed Forces members, serving and retired alike, make up the team heading to Invictus Games in Toronto, September 23–30. Mike is a member of Team Canada and will compete in indoor rowing and cycling.

“I really want Canadians to understand how important Invictus Games is to each of us: for the peer support and camaraderie and for the opportunity to train and compete in sports. This helps us to recover mentally and physically.

“Through Invictus Games, I can continue to represent my country and help inspire other ill and injured military members,” says Mike. And with his determination and lead-by-example approach to life, Mike will certainly inspire many!

For more information about Team Canada at the Invictus Games – Toronto 2017.

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