For Adaptive CrossFit Athlete Kevin Ogar, COVID Is Just Another Chance to Pivot

Ogar has kept busy running his gym as well as building educational resources for adaptive athletes and trainers.

Kevin Ogar became paralyzed from the belly button down after a T10 Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury during a snatch at a private fitness competition. (It’s worth noting: The event was not run or officially sanctioned by CrossFit.) Ogar, who at the time of the event had a 300 pound one rep snatch, dumped a 235 pound bar behind him during a snatch attempt. The bar bounced off a stack of plates behind the platform while Ogar was still in the bottom of a squat, hitting his back and instantly severing his spine. Since then, he has been the first and loudest supporter of CrossFit being safe and functional but also being approachable for all.

Since that day in January of 2014, Ogar has opened CrossFit Watchtower in Englewood, CO, joined the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff, represented Team USA for World Para Powerlifting in 2017 and 2018, became involved with WheelWOD, joined the board of the Reveille Project, and became a CrossFit Affiliate Representative for Colorado.

In other words, he’s been busy.

He’s also part of the Adaptive Training Academy, which just launched its online version, one that Ogar is very proud of.

“The online course is longer, but the in-person course hasn’t changed,” Ogar told me on a recent phone call. “We are still figuring out how to safely run that and when and where, but we also have the online course so that people don’t have to wait around for that to launch.”

Founded by Logan Aldridge and Alec Zirkenbach, the Adaptive Training Academy is an organization founded and led by adaptive athletes and trainers dedicated to getting high-quality, research-based education. Their purpose is to educate fitness trainers, health professionals, and people with disabilities to make fitness training accessible and inclusive for everyone, regardless of ability.

It’s become Ogar’s battle cry.

“I survived because of how fit I was due to CrossFit,” Ogar told Logan Aldridge in a recent interview. “I had an 85 percent chance of dying. They told me what got me through it was my red blood cell count was so high and so efficient that I could lose the blood during surgery, but my body was able to utilize the oxygen I had left more efficiently.”

In Ogar’s mind, fitness saved his life, and he wasn’t about to give up and throw in the sweaty gym towel. It’s one of the reasons he’s lined up with the Adaptive Training Academy.

One of the ways the Adaptive Training Academy does this is by providing real-world guidance via live seminars and online courses. Formerly known as the CrossFit Adaptive Course, and now a CrossFit Preferred Course, the crew quickly set to task to get the course online amongst COVID.

“The Adaptive Training Academy just launched a new version of our online course that is a cohort model, you can take it and it’s led and we actually get online with you and teach the course online, we just got visual and auditory impairment aspects on that,” Ogar said.

“The in person course hasn’t changed but we are still figuring out how to run that and when and where, but we also have the online course so that people don’t have to wait around for that to launch.”

Ogar and the rest of the team launched the first Adaptive Training Academy in mid-September. With attendance hovering around 30 and 40 participants, Ogar is pleased. And he sees it as more than just an online course.

“We’re hosting the course every month, but every Thursday we get on with you and we kind of teach the course to you that way, too. It’s interactive, we’re online with you, we put you through an activity, we give you homework, so it’s still the online course but you get some face to face time.”

There is a plan in place to return to in person courses once it’s safe, and Kevin is looking forward to that.

“I just get out there and make bad jokes and teach things. It’s great,” he said.

But Ogar still has plenty of opportunity for bad jokes right now, as he works as a CrossFit Affiliate Representative for Colorado, a role just developed by Eric Roza after he acquired CrossFit from Greg Glassman. “I love it. It’s really great. It’s what I always thought that CrossFit was all about,” Ogar told me.

“It’s a bunch of people helping other people, so now we are just a community of affiliate reps trying to help other affiliates. We get together, we talk, we discuss best practices, we share ideas. We have a meeting board where affiliates can ask questions or for advice. We really want to see each other as resources instead of competition.”

COVID or not, Ogar will not be deterred. Between the Adaptive Training Academy and the Affiliate Representative work, running WheelWod, running his gym CrossFIt Watchtower, Ogar is busy.

His secret? “I just try to do a little bit every day.”

Featured image: @kevinogar on Instagram