Health & Wellness

Colorado Health & Wellness | Spring 2016

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32 Ogar, a beloved coach who had lived and breathed CrossFit for seven years, had overnight become the poster child for its perils. But today, he insists they got it all wrong. "A lot of people say CrossFit is what hurt me," he says, seated in his wheelchair at the entrance to his new, 4,800-square-foot gym, CrossFit Watchtower, in Littleton. "In reality, CrossFit saved my life." Two years after the injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, 30-year-old Ogar owns his own gym and is back to competing – bench-pressing 400 pounds as he eyes a spot in the 2020 Paralympic Games. He has become a tireless advocate for adaptive CrossFit, developing programs for amputees, traumatic brain injury sufferers, and others with disabilities. And he recently co-founded the Reveille Project, a nonprofit that helps military veterans heal physically and emotionally via CrossFit. Meanwhile, he contends that an unsafe event set-up – not the sport he loves – was to blame for what happened. "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. To say that what happened to me proves CrossFit is dangerous is the dumbest thing I have ever heard." R E B U I L D I N G STRENGTH Injured CrossFit Champ Partners with Military Veteran, Launching Inspirational Gym by Lisa Marshall photos by Mark Woolcott On the evening of Jan. 11, 2014, TV news viewers watched in horror as a grainy 5-second video showed Colorado-based CrossFit champion Kevin Ogar hoist a 235-pound barbell over his head during a competition, drop it suddenly on his back, and collapse in agony, his spine instantly severed. In the coming days, as Ogar fought for his life, and the grisly video went viral, news and social media sites lit up with criticisms of the 15-year-old sport – which incorporates cardio moves with quick reps of heavy lifting, often performed while already fatigued. "Was Ogar's injury the result of too much weight and not enough rest?" asked Sports Illustrated. "This gives all the Crossfit weekend warriors a reason to pause," warned

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