He was diagnosed with ulcerous colitis at age 15 while in midget hockey. Ten years ago he lost his 43-year-old father to stomach cancer.
Yet somehow, Corson has managed to his fight through the hard times, sickness and injuries of his 17-year NHL career to be known as one of the league's toughest competitors.
But not even he was ready for what he faced last year.
Shayne Corson, seen here in action with the Maple Leafs, suffered from panic attacks last season. (CP Photo)
Earlier this week, Corson spoke publicly for the first time about the severe panic attacks he suffered last season.
"I'd feel like I was having a heart attack," Corson told the magazine, Sports Illustrated.
"It was like everything was coming down on me at once. I didn't want to be away from home, I didn't want to be in crowds.
"It fed on itself, you know? The more scared I got, the more guilty I felt about being scared.
"I wanted to be strong."
Corson, who played in the NHL all-star game in 1990, 1994 and 1998, said he was so overcome with fear that at times he strained to hold back tears.
"Much too often I'd wake up in the middle of the night panicking -- my heart would be pounding, tears in my eyes," he said. "I wouldn't know what to do."
Meanwhile, his health also became affected.
In ulcerous colitis, a hereditary disease, victims are unable to keep food in their bodies, leaving them drained of energy. It's also complicated when the body, or mind, in under stress.
"You have no energy and everything you eat goes right through you," he said once. "None of the nutrients in the food gets to you, so you're tired all the time."
Luckily for Corson, his teammate and brother-in-law Darcy Tucker, was his roommate on the road last year and helped him get through the toughest of times.
"I don't think I'd have made it if Tucksie hadn't been my roommate. Who knows how another teammate would have handled it?"
"He had pills for his stomach and pills for his anxiety," Tucker told SI. "I'd make sure he took the right ones.
"He was in no condition to be making choices."
Aside from Tucker, Corson's teammates weren't aware of his condition.
And if they had known, they might not have believed it. Corson is, after all, the man the Leafs count on to neutralize the league's top players.
Though Corson isn't exactly sure what started his panic attacks, he wanted to go public with his story in order to help others in a similar situation.
"By talking about things like this, I think it's good for other people to see you can get through things like that, be successful and get where you want to get," he said. "I think it's important to talk about things like that for people that go through it, too.
Not a lot of people talk about it."
Corson is off to a solid start this season with four goals and two assists in seven games.
And as for the panic attacks, he says his recovery has been a "long and gradual process," in which he spoke to a psychiatrist regularly and took anti-anxiety medication.
"Things are better this year," he said. "Panic is something I'll always have to deal with but, last year, it was as bad as it could get."