Adaptive Athletes in Wheelchairs Find Their Own Box

Mar 3, 2019 by

The story.

In South Orlando, FL a new pilot program through Orlando Health is getting athletes that use wheelchairs into a CrossFit class on a regular basis.

How’s that?

The Craig Neilsen Foundation helps people with spinal cord injuries adapt to daily life by getting them into the box. “When they’re done with their inpatient care and outpatient care, we wanted to focus on where these individuals can continue working on their health and physical activity outside of a rehab setting,” said Andrea Cooper, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.

So the program teamed up with CrossFit coaches at South Orlando CrossFit in Orlando, FL to adapt WODs to train athletes for daily tasks like getting in and out of vehicles and lifting wheelchairs.

That’s a cool program.

It is, and the athletes love it.

“They welcomed us as one of their own since we started,” said athlete C.J. Bellamy. “You know, they give us their respect, you know nobody disrespects us or talks nonsense about us.”

The program has been successful enough that Orlando Health is looking at branching out to other gyms to serve more athletes.

“We’re looking at other gyms. We’re looking at more training. We’re looking at extended memberships. We’re looking at more participants,” Cooper said.


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