18-year-old Emily Avery Competes at Wodapalooza after Losing Arm in Accident

January 18, 2022 by
Photo Credit: AVa Kitzi
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Emily Avery started CrossFit in August of 2020 after being involved in various sports her entire childhood. As an active teen, 18-year-old Avery never could have imagined life any different until a near-fatal car accident left her without her left arm. But determined to stay involved with CrossFit, Avery punched her ticket to Wodapalooza just three months after losing her arm.

Before the accident, Avery picked up CrossFit because it provided her with variance and excitement in training that she craved. Quickly, she found her place at the Pit Fitness Ranch and started training with their ever-growing group of teen athletes. By the summer of 2021, the rising high school senior was on her way to stringing together muscle-ups, training with experienced athletes, and having a solid group of gym friends.

  • “I went from zero to eleven strict pull-ups in a row in a month, and I was super happy with that! And I made my first muscle-up in May, and I was super stoked,” Avery remembers. 

As one of the biggest names in the sport for teen athletes, Triple River CrossFit, the large number of like-minded peers provided Avery with a community that was integral to her experience. 

  • “They’re my family. It’s fun doing community WODs and having people to train with, especially when they’ve competed (at big competitions before). They’ve been doing CrossFit for so much longer than I have, and I can definitely learn from them.”

However, after the accident that could have ended her life in July of 2021, CrossFit and fitness took on a new meaning in Avery’s life. Having previously followed local competitive programming, she switched to WheelWOD, which Avery says she’s thoroughly enjoyed, especially with the wide variety of skills and ability levels it tailors to. However, she admits that the transition has been, understandably, frustrating and an extreme learning curve. 

  • “It’s been a crazy thing because you learn all of these things, and then you have to start from square one,” Avery explained.
  • In addition to the changes she’s faced in CrossFit, a more universal experience for Avery is not being able to play the guitar.
  • “It’s just different, and it’s hard, because you work so hard to get there, and life just takes you in a different direction.”

Avery didn’t visibly falter, though. While she remembers feeling numb immediately following the accident and said the ramifications of her new circumstance didn’t fully set in until last Fall. With that knowledge, though, and understanding that she might find herself in a funk at some point, she pushed herself to compete in the Wodapalooza Online Challenge in the Adaptive Standing division. Avery says it was an “F-it moment”. 

Photo Credit: Pit Media Team

And she made it. Avery took the Wodapalooza stage as one of only five athletes in the division, including two CrossFit Games athletes.

  • Avery ended the weekend in fourth in the Adaptive Standing Upper RX Women’s division, including three third-place finishes. 
  • Immediately after the competition, Avery headed over to Downtown Strength and Conditioning for a teen afterparty (hosted by the Pit) and hit a 3-rep deadlift at 250lbs. 

Avery, who says she loves working hard in the gym, and that training with her community at Triple River CrossFit has been a saving grace in making her feel normal and giving her something to hold onto during this tumultuous time in her life, hasn’t changed her regime that drastically leading up to Miami. More focused, maybe, but Avery is mostly focused on working hard, having fun, and spreading “peace and love” – her trademark saying – in the gym. 

  • It’s just been a super cool, humbling experience, because I know I’m gonna be on the floor with girls who’ve been to the Games. I’m ready to get my butt whooped.”

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