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Diary of a CrossFit Athlete


Marvel Lady’s Aunt Antiope as soon as advised her, “You’re stronger than you imagine. You may have higher powers than you realize.” Would I think about myself like Marvel Lady? Not precisely. However I’ve needed to dig deep for energy and inside energy to beat a few of my greatest obstacles.

At the moment, I’m a supervisor within the Inhabitants Well being division at Independence Blue Cross. I’m additionally the proud proprietor of some new {hardware}: a second-place medal from the 2022 CrossFit Video games. The journey to get thus far wasn’t simple. Actually, it was downright brutal.

The First Bump within the Highway

I’ve been an athlete my complete life, loving sports activities from a younger age. What started as one thing enjoyable I used to do as a child developed into the potential to play in school. Being an athlete allowed me to be the perfect model of myself as a result of it gave me the power to dwell a wholesome way of life.

In 2008, as a highschool sophomore, I suffered a collarbone break throughout a basketball sport, which, even after therapeutic, brought on years of shoulder and sensation points in my neck, arms, and palms.

Medical doctors recognized me with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS), a uncommon prognosis on the time. NTOS occurred when the bundle of nerves from my backbone down my arm was being squeezed because it went via my shoulder, inflicting ache and lack of sensation.

Whereas I performed discipline hockey at Shippensburg College for the following couple of years, I attempted to alleviate my points by doing bodily remedy. It was clear I wanted surgical procedure, however as a result of my situation was so uncommon, many medical doctors didn’t have sufficient experience within the situation to carry out it. I struggled to search out a health care provider prepared to do the surgical procedure and to get insurance coverage to cowl it.

By no means Shedding My Aggressive Spirit

As beginning discipline hockey ahead and one of many main athletes within the league and nation in assists, in 2012, I discovered a surgeon prepared to carry out the surgical procedure to take away the anterior and center scalene muscle tissue, or neck muscle tissue, and my first rib on my proper aspect.

The surgeon quickly found that scar tissue had developed across the bones and muscle tissue in my neck and subclavian vein. So, the surgeon needed to peel every little thing again like an onion, layer by layer. In doing so, he didn’t understand scar tissue was connected to the subclavian vein, so when he peeled that layer, he mistakenly opened the vein. I misplaced about half the blood in my physique. As a result of I used to be a younger, wholesome particular person, I survived; but it surely modified every little thing.

I developed everlasting nerve injury and digestive points from the blood loss, however I by no means let it impede my love for and skill to compete in sports activities. I helped Shippensburg win the NCAA Nationwide Championship in 2013, alongside my fellow classmates.

I continued to compete by working in highway races and finally found Spartan Race impediment programs in 2019. I wasn’t solely good at Spartan Races; I used to be probably the greatest on the planet, incomes a spot on the rostrum in eight out of 14 races and rating ninth in my age group globally. Whereas races have been paused in the course of the pandemic, I used CrossFit to remain in race form till they began again up once more.

When But One other Door Closes, There’s All the time a Window

In September 2020, a Mack dump truck rear-ended my automobile. I suffered from a traumatic mind damage, ataxia (poor muscle management and stability points), and cervical and lumbar radiculopathy.

Since this occurred in the course of the top of the pandemic, many medical doctors have been pressured to impose new insurance policies to stretch their schedules and restrict the variety of new sufferers they might see. So, it took me three months to acquire an appointment with the specialist I wanted to see. Mixed with my NTOS prognosis, I confronted a brand new set of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

I needed to come to phrases with the truth that I couldn’t do every little thing I may do earlier than my accident. I needed to commerce my three-hour-a-day exercises for stationary bike classes.

It was a harrowing, irritating, and disturbing realization for somebody as lively as me. I additionally needed to face an unthinkable actuality that I couldn’t push via and compete like I do any time I meet an impediment. It appeared as if the door for aggressive sports activities had closed on me.

However then a window opened.

I found that the CrossFit video games had an adaptive division for neuromuscular individuals, and I used to be eligible. Whereas I used to be thrilled to have the possibility to compete once more, it was a tough capsule to swallow. I went from being a nationwide champion athlete to having this be my solely likelihood to compete and inside a class I used to be not mentally ready to compete in.

I didn’t inform many individuals about my plans to compete. I spent most of my life in an abled physique, doing issues how I wished to and after I wished to. Now, I needed to be utterly intentional and take into consideration how my physique would reply to every little thing I did. I felt embarrassed and pissed off that this was my new actuality, as a result of I couldn’t be the identical particular person everybody had at all times identified me to be.

However CrossFit helped change my perspective. I overcame these emotions as a result of I noticed I may nonetheless be athletic; I simply needed to discover one other strategy to do issues. As a substitute of a field soar, I may do a field step. As a substitute of working a number of miles, I may run one mile and row/bike the remaining.

My health club groupCity Match and CrossFit King of Prussia — has been such a constructive surroundings for me that it has helped enhance my psychological well being and outlook on my situation. I used to be surrounded by mates who may problem me, and I may problem myself inside the parameters of what I used to be able to doing.

I registered for the CrossFit Open the day earlier than the deadline and completed third in North America and fourth worldwide in my division. After connecting with and coaching full time with CrossFit King of Prussia health club proprietor, Aimee Lyons, I completed fifth within the semifinals, incomes my spot on the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Video games.

In opposition to all the percentages stacked towards me, I gained second place within the Ladies’s Neuromuscular Division.

My Journey Isn’t Completed

I hope my story, braveness, dedication, and grit encourage others who’ve needed to grasp the identical realizations. I hope my expertise exhibits the family and friends of these with neuro situations that your help means a lot. Don’t assume we’re at all times okay. We may have just a little push typically; you may simply have to satisfy me the place I’m.

It helps that my household and mates perceive that every day is totally different for me, and a few environments won’t be superb. Little issues like bringing me dinner as an alternative of going out to loud eating places, which may set off my signs, are enormous, and that understanding and accommodating go a good distance.

Whereas I promised my medical doctors that I’d solely compete within the Video games annually, having the possibility to do it’s satisfying. I gave each ounce of power, ardour, and tenacity and left all of it on the CrossFit Video games flooring. I’m decided to maintain surviving and adapting. I’ve seen a counselor,* but additionally having the ability to work out inside an important CrossFit health club surroundings and compete helps me preserve my psychological state intact.

I’ve realized to be snug with being uncomfortable, that means I can now step out of my consolation zone greater than I ever have earlier than. Simply because one thing has modified in your life doesn’t imply it has to outline your future. And I plan on dwelling life to the fullest each likelihood I get.

*Verify your advantages for protection and sources round psychological well being.

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