Redemption Win at TYR Wodapalooza for Neuromuscular Athlete Alyssa Kobela

January 18, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Alyssa Kobela
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Last summer, Alyssa Kobela finally got the chance to compete on the big stage at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

But things didn’t go her way. The Neuromuscular division athlete who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS)—a central nervous system condition without a cure that attacks the protective layer around the nerves—tore a ligament in her wrist during Event 4 in Madison, WI and had to withdraw. 

She was devastated.

“It took me a little bit to get my mental strength back after that. I wrestled with many ‘should have, could have, would haves,’” said 35-year-old Kobela, who was diagnosed with MS in 2018.

Her experience at the Games also shook her confidence, so she spent time working with her coach on building it back up in time to compete at TYR Wodapalooza last weekend in Miami, FL.

Comeback Complete

Kobela all but dominated the Women’s Neuromuscular competition in Miami, snagging six of seven event wins along the way, and finishing with 675 of a possible 700 points.

For Kobela, though, it was never about having to win in Miami. In fact, her only two goals were to “have fun and don’t get hurt,” she said. 

The atmosphere at Wodapalooza made it easy, she explained.

“It was so much more relaxed than at the Games (and) even though we were competing, there was a sense of camaraderie among us all and we genuinely cheered for each other and celebrated the diversity and inclusivity within the division,” Kobela said.

An Uncertain Future

What made her experience in Miami extra special is that Kobela isn’t sure whether she will be eligible to compete in the adaptive division—now called the Multi Extremity division—this summer due to the new guidelines CrossFit announced for the 2023 season. 

“I am still waiting for a decision from the athlete eligibility committee,” she said.

In the past, the rules stated that you need to have one of the 10 eligible impairments, but according to the new rules, simply having “a diagnosis with a medical condition does not necessarily mean you have the impairment,” Kobela explained.

This year, the rulebook states that the impairment has to impact your ability to do CrossFit movements.

“I submitted over a month ago the medical assessment form as well as the workout video they require; however, I am not sure what impact means or the level to which it must impact my movement, so I am still unsure if I am eligible or not. My impairment is observable and does cause issues with many movements, but I still do not know what the eligibility committee will determine,” Kobela said.

“Basically, I may not be impaired enough to be eligible.”

The Big Picture

Although she hopes CrossFit rules in her favor, Kobela is not too focused on something that is out of her control.

And no matter what the ruling, Kobela knows CrossFit is about way more than competing at the CrossFit Games, something that was made especially apparent in Miami last week.

“Wodapalooza did such a good job of reminding us that it is really about community, and that rings even more true for the adaptive community. The support I have found and the friendships I have forged are invaluable,” she said.

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