NDWCC Shares: MCpl Mike Trauner’s CAF Story

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After losing his legs while deployed to Afghanistan, retired Master Corporal Mike Trauner went through an exhaustive ordeal trying to find his new normal. In 2016, Prince Harry challenged him to compete at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. As a soldier, the challenge gave him the drive he needed to take part in two indoor rowing events, he won gold in both.

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  • Retired MCpl Mike Trauner

NDWCC

Transcript

First time.

(MT) Post-injury was a very difficult time for me. You basically have to find what we like to call your new normal.

I’m retired Master Corporal Mike Trauner out of CP Petawawa. 19 years to the Canadian Armed Forces.

When I got the news that I was actually going to Afghanistan, I was actually kind of happy because me and my wife needed the money to purchase a new house. So, yeah, I was excited.

December 4, we just finished up a major operation, but our job was to go out and just take a look around, survey the land for enemy forces. And soon as I stepped over a berm, it was remote detonated. It was an IED that went off.

It threw me in the air approximately 20 feet, 360° a couple of times and landed back in this large crater.

When I woke up, it was days later and I was in Landstuhl. Both of my legs were lost. The left arm was broken at three places, my hand was split right down the middle, the thumb was blown off, my right arm had to be completely rebuilt. They still didn’t even know if I was gonna live or not, and at that point, I had already died twice: once on the battlefield and once in surgery.

My wife had been notified and she came to Germany. I remember I looked at her and I said: “I’m sorry.” And she said: “Why are you sorry?” And I said: “I’m sorry because I changed our lives.” And she said: “That doesn’t matter. What matters is that I love you, and we’re going to get through this.”

First few months in rehab were hell. I couldn’t move my legs, I couldn’t move my hands, I couldn’t move my arms. Any movement I made, it was excruciating pain because my nerve endings were also exposed.

At that point, it was my lowest point. I didn’t know what to do. I was lost.

After the war, I got put in touch with Soldier On. Soldier On really put me on the right path to show me: “Even though you have a disability, look at all the great things you can accomplish.”

Now the CEO of the Invictus Games, he phoned us and he said: “Mike, I want you to come out to Toronto. Prince Harry is here, and he’d love to meet you and I want you to meet the athletes too.” So we went there, he smiled and he said: “Mike, I want you to come on out to the Invictus Games Toronto” And I said: “I accept your challenge. I’ll be there.”

So, I started training for the Invictus Games. That takes discipline, it takes power, it takes endurance. It follows the same route that I came from from the military.

You know, so don’t look at the negative things. You know, set your minds on what should happen, and that’s what is going to make a difference for you. I never give up because I’m just a soldier, and soldiers never just give up.

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