David Walsh, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, started competing in Strongman challenges in 2017 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years earlier.
The 35-year-old competed in the 2020 World’s Strongest Disabled Man event but narrowly missed out, finishing in second place.
However this year, David has his hopes firmly set on the top spot and is training hard to achieve his goal.
Training is going well so far, with his latest achievements include being able to pull two 10-tonne lorries in his wheelchair – a feat he says is the most ever pulled from a wheelchair.
The veteran got into strength training after leaving the Army in 2016, saying it helped him ‘find his place in society’.
‘I joined the gym and really enjoyed the strength side of things, so finding Strongman really helped keep me occupied doing something I enjoyed,’ he said.
‘Before my MS diagnosis, I competed regularly in Strongman competitions and fell in love with the sport.’
'The Sitting Bull'
But during a training session in 2014, David felt his right arm go numb.
He initially put it down to tiredness but when the numbness spread to the rest of his body, his wife urged him to go to the doctors.
After multiple tests and scans, David was diagnosed with MS, a diagnosis that came as a shock.
David, who now works in freight management, said: ‘When the symptoms started kicking in, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.
‘Strongman wise, career-wise and even family-wise. I went from a masculine guy that everyone could rely on to not knowing my self-worth overnight.
‘I was really down and I was also diagnosed with depression. It took a few years for me to come to terms with being disabled and dealing with my symptoms.’
But after some very difficult months, he got back in the gym.
It was then another former soldier introduced him to the disabled Strongman competitions. As soon as he found out, he wanted to compete.
While he initially found training hard, David soon got back into the swing of things and competed in his first competition in 2017.
His success soon won him the nickname ‘Sitting Bull’.
‘I competed in my first disabled Strongman competition and became the south of England’s Strongest Disabled Man, as well as placing third at Britain’s Strongest Man,’ he said.
‘I also set a world record by being the first seated person to deadlift 960 lbs.
‘I instantly felt the same familiar rush and I was hooked. Returning to sports had a huge impact on me, it changed my outlook on life. It made me feel safe and that I was still the same person.’
Due to his condition, David has to carefully plan his training.
‘I have to be smart with my training sessions because fatigue is a main symptom of MS. My sessions are about quality, not quantity,’ he said.
‘I have since been diagnosed with progressive MS, which means my symptoms won’t go away and they will progressively get worse.
‘But by competing in disabled Strongman competitions, I have been able to turn a negative into a positive.’
Check out Dave's ever growing social media following with upbuilding, hilarious and down right awe-inspiring content @Sittingbulluk