Disabled athlete finds community at local CrossFit gym


"Everybody whether they are impaired or not are working out together, side-by-side..."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – One local gym is helping people with impairments stay fit and active.

CrossFit Commence in Fayetteville tell us they are all about creating a safe space that is inclusive and allows people of various abilities come together to workout and improve their daily physical activity. 

“Our goal is to offer inclusivity and a community for these individuals with impairments, so they can come into a gym and feel like they are part of something. They workout side-by-side with other members here at our gym and we are adapting all of the movements so they feel included,” said Foundation Director and Coach, Elisabeth Schach.

Most of us have heard of CrossFit, well adaptive CrossFit is the same concept but with some adjustments to the workouts to suit the needs of athletes with disabilities.

One of the adaptive athletes is Tabitha Mayberry. She has a spinal cord injury. She has been in a wheelchair for 15 years after being involved in a car accident. She found CrossFit Commence in January, last year.

“I really wanted to find a gym that was welcoming to me and that I can really be part of instead of just come in and workout by myself,” said Mayberry.

CrossFit Commence has an onboarding program called Foundations to welcome its new members. 

“We bring in athletes whether they are impaired or able body and we go through several of these movements. It’s everything you may see in our workouts. We talk about how to work out proficiently and most importantly safely. So, when they come to work out they know what to expect and they know how to move,” said Schach.

Mayberry is also Ms. Wheelchair of Arkansas 2016 and competed in Ms. Wheelchair America.

“It’s really about advocating for myself and other people with disabilities. I just really want to be able to get the word out there that we are just like everybody else. Our challenges are just more visible than others,” said Mayberry.

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