By Mahima Kaur
THIS COMPETITION winning bodybuilder says that being electrocuted with up to 27K Volts as a child and breaking his back and losing his arms made him MORE than a man.
Salford, Manchester born Shahid Iqbal (50) was 11 years old when he got the shock that nearly killed him, and changed his life forever.
The 11 year old had just started secondary school when the accident happened on Boxing Day, 1983 while his younger brother watched him as he climbed on a tall electricity tower.
Tragically he sat on its generator and within moments Shahid, fondly known to his friends as Chad, was electrocuted by as much as 27000 volts.
Chad had to spend the best years of his life fighting to survive his accident by enduring almost two years in hospital undergoing three surgeries.
Since recovering from his horrific accident Chad gained a good education, won himself a university degree and gone on to conquer the world of bodybuilding, where he has won four titles and inspired others to follow in his footsteps.
“I felt pain you could never imagine.” said Chad
“I was screaming and tried to grab my left wrist with my right hand but they both stuck together.
“It melted my fingers to my knuckles and burnt the flesh from my palms to my elbows.
“I just remember pain, smoke and flashes of blue.
“I remember falling upside down and I could see my younger brother helplessly watching me.
“I woke up a week later at Great Ormand Street Hospital in London. It was very painful.”
Shocks above 11000 volts are most fatal. But the highest voltage electrocution that has ever survived, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is 230,000 volts.
After the gruesome shock when Chad fell on the ground, his back took the full force of the fall. He broke his T7 and made him a paraplegic.
The T7 (seventh thoracic vertebra) houses the nerve which provides messages between a person’s brain, pancreas and spleen. It is connected to the ribcage. Being a paraplegic means being affected by a paralysis of the lower body.
After a brief stay at the Great Ormand Hospital, London, Chad spent around 18 months at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
His life saving surgery took more than six hours at Stoke Mandeville Hospital because the surgeons kept finding burnt flesh.
“At the Great Ormand Hospital, London, they couldn’t get a surgeon who was willing to amputate my arms,” he said.
“After the operation, I got gangrene in my right arm and doctors were going to amputate my whole arm.
“My dad pleaded with them to save my arm. It was a dark time for me. I needed care at all times.”
The surgeons sewed his arms to his right side of the body and waited for three months. After three months, when skin started to grow on the boy’s arm they cut his arms from his body.
Chad spent 18 months at the hospital and could not do anything by himself, but luckily got love and support from his family and even achieved an A+ in his GCSEs.
He graduated in 1994 with an honours degree in graphic design from Manchester University.
“People always looked down on me. They frowned upon my disability,” he said.
“It was hard because everyone would stare at me. They would laugh at me.
“They were disgusted at my sight or took pity on me.”
In 2015, Chad got some custom made weights for himself and after some attempts, he started feeling healthier and stronger training with them.
Since then he has become a competitive bodybuilder, winning an incredible four titles including two outright wins at national level.
“I have been training hard for seven years now.” he said.
“I went from a shy boy to a grown man. I’m like Benjamin Button. The older I get, the younger I become.
“I was so proud to win my first show in Manchester in 2019. I reached 5th place in the PCA British finals in 2021 and got invited to PCA Universe which is in May 2023.
“People are motivated by my positivity. They get inspired because I am always happy no matter what happens.”
Chad goes to the gym four times a week and swims once a week. He also does electric stimulation therapy daily for three to four hours. Electric stimulation therapy is voluntary contraction and release of muscles to strengthen and repair tissues.
“I haven’t used my legs for 38 years but they are still healthy with muscle mass.” he said.
“I warm up with 40kgs of weight and then use 70-90kgs.
“I am no one special but I am blessed and grateful.”
Chad can lift up to 190kg without any difficulties. He takes five meals on days that he trains and four meals on rest days. He also makes it a point to have four to five litres of water everyday.
“Disability shouldn’t be frowned upon, but embraced.
“We are people too.”
Chad has competed in several disabled bodybuilding contests since 2019, including:
PCA Manchester Winner 2019
PCA Open Day Winner 2020
Classic Barbarian 2nd place 2020
PCA Team GB 2023
For more information see www.mediadrumworld.com