Shawn had his right leg amputated after being diagnosed with cancer in 1988. Total or partial limb amputations occur because the affected limb is no longer functional, due to impairment caused by trauma, disease, infection or defect at birth. The level of amputation will depend on the location and severity of impairment. Most amputees can be fitted with a prosthetic leg, knee or ankle, placed over the remaining part of the amputated limb, known as the "stump".
According to Teammate Jean Labonté:
“A member of the National Team since 1991, Shawn could be the sledge hockey version of Guy Carbonneau. Over the years he has made the transition from an offensive-minded forward to an extremely effective defensive player and he takes great pride in this crucial role.”