You’re exactly right. What a great question. That’s a massive undertaking. Look what we could have done. We could have developed a textbook, a playbook and said, “If they have this, do this. If it’s a squat, they’re in a wheelchair, give them this movement instead.”
We could have done that, but that doesn’t solve any of the problems. That just gives you this thing as a trainer, return to this, find a solution. Until that is delivered, it doesn’t do anything. We’re effecting change.
What we realized was, yes, every human being is different. In the world of disabled individuals, the range of ability in that [inaudible 18:06] is drastic. You have to, first of all, create some definitions, and then within that, we need nomenclature classifications.
The first definition, I like to tell the listeners of our podcast, to make more sense of what ATA is, and who we’re talking about here. First of all, we don’t call people with disabilities, we refer to them all as adaptive athletes.
It’s an empowering term. I believe anybody who’s doing fitness is an athlete, that’s heavily debated, but that’s my personal belief, that’s what we call them. It’s empowering and positive. What we define adaptive athlete first name in our courses define this new give you context and clarity as to who this population is.
An adaptive athlete is a person with a permanent physical or physiological or cognitive impairment. First word the most part, we’re being impairment, which causes limitations or limited a limitation, which affects work capacity.
We have an impairment cause’s limitation affects work capacity. That’s the really important part, understanding those limitations are observable and measurable in movement. That’s the important part.
Oftentimes, like my colleague, Alex Durkin Bach, you saw you’d say that it’s a body, it’s got his arms, got his legs, he’s wearing shorts and sees missing like, huge chunk out of his calf, and you’d say, “Right, something’s wrong with his leg.” But you wouldn’t realize that he has a fused ankle, and he hands use lower back distance or back.
Unless you asked him to hinge and then you asked him to perform an air squat, you see that feel that and deserve his limitation being presented. Work capacity is just your ability to accomplish a task. Your ability to do that movement goes through that range of motion.
What we’re trying to do as trainers, when we train you teach you to do throughout the course is how to reduce the limitations and increase that work capacity. That’s the goal. We’re not trying to change or affect their impairment that is a condition that is what it is.
If they’re working with you that shouldn’t be stable. You’re progressing with reducing limitations, increasing work capacity. Now when it comes to understanding and trying to wrap your head around as a trainer, if an athlete with cerebral palsy comes in, and they’re affected, they’re fully affected.
There may be upper extremities affected, lower extremities affected. Now you’re observing these tons of meditation recurring and the different movement patterns and lots to consider.
Then we have to classify what we’re focusing on. What is a movement that it requires, what is the foundation of the functional movement that we’re addressing in the moment, whether it’s a deadlift, the hip hinge.
Then we look at athlete, can they hip hinge first of all? We’ve seeded athletes. We need to determine what functionality they have, and that’s without going down the two-hour have a whole of giving you examples of every category classification.
Just know that it’s been a lot of work for us to include impairment groups that aren’t just physical, in terms of the ones that often pop up in people’s heads first when they think of adaptive athlete, just because it’s not like the profound video you see on Instagram.
Whether you think adaptive athlete, OK, someone in a wheelchair, someone missing a leg or both legs, someone missing an arm or both arms. Nothing [inaudible 21:12] just with the physical. Very obvious amputations, limb difference and spinal cord injuries or issues that resulted you doing most of your tasks in a wheelchair. Spina bifida, spinal cord injuries also it’s different categories.
It is important that within those you don’t just lump an athlete into a category. You see that athlete coming in your gym in a wheelchair, you don’t assume that’s spinal cord injury. They may be able to stand, they maybe have some hip function but these are just questions that we teach you how to go through that onboarding process, asking the perfect questions.
They not only determine where they are psychologically but then also where they are with their ability. For us it’s categorizing impairment groups into different classifications. If you’re upper extremity, that can be from the waist up, and typically hand, fingers, all the way to the shoulders. Really focused. Lower extremity, arms to your legs.
We have seated athletes. Within seated athletes we sub categorized three different categories where there might be some hip function, no hip function, gross hip function. That’s really important because again if we just lump all seated athletes into one category, there is such range of paralysis and ability level.
If they have the hip function we don’t want to disable them further. We want to incorporate and use what they have, since they can. Then within that we go into century. Within century we talk about how to coach and work with a program for visual athletes, so a blind athlete but also deaf athletes and taking those considerations.
What happens when there’s a combination of both? There is a lot of factors when you talk about different impairment groups, if you will. We have intellectual,, what we like to call neurodiverse rather than intellectual disability.
We have short stature, and we have neurological conditions that’s ranging from MS to CP, and multiple others that exist within that space. It was important that we cover all of these groups and gave you, first and foremost, the biggest safety concerns within this.
It’s always about safe and effective training. Never justify safety for anything else, or inclusion or effectiveness. Safety is number one. It must be around. Then, within that, we’re able to give you our principles. This is the IP that the value, the special sauce of what ATA teaches you, is what I like to call the black box, like the filter.
Doesn’t matter. Any athlete, any condition don’t even classify it as adaptive. Temporary — just had an ACL surgery. Just had back surgery. Just had a neck issue. Whatever. We’re all crazy humans running around doing stuff, working with an impingement we have or something that hurts and aches, and that’s life.
What our course does is then gives you, as a trainer, coach, or even therapists, the way to filter these impairments, these limitations that are being presented, how does it manifest through movement, activity, whatever that is.
Strength, endurance, CrossFit, F45, fricking whatever, walking, doesn’t matter. Walking, the ability to ambulate. A lot of times, that’s where I start with mine. Then, within that, how has it affected network capacity, an increase in network capacity?
That is the foundation of what we do, but the special sauces is in that box in which you after you take our course, have the confidence, knowledge, and ability to practically apply this program or workout, or create a program or workout for [inaudible 24:15] ability.
I think that’s the most valuable thing. I’m obviously biased here, right? But I have tons of reviews, all of the people who take our course come out of it, fired up ready to go, and most often we see the very next day they go start working with the athlete.
That was the most important part for us. When you take the course, and you’ve finished, that you finished is proof for us on course. It’s approved for 16 CDUs. It’s considered technically like a two-day in-person course or online course.
Takes most learners two or three weeks to get through. We have self-paced options in a cohort option where we guide you through it in a series of four weeks to make sure you graduate and pass the exam, but the feedback is phenomenal.
They’re like, “this is way more than I thought, this is more robust than I thought, and more importantly, you showed me how to apply the knowledge. You didn’t just lecture me, teach me and then say you got it? Move on.” No. With interactions
We were very fortunate that we have on-staff a doctorate in education, leadership, and universal design. Her name is Kristin Arnold. She’s a former CrossFit Games athlete, and she’s the mother of a son with dual diagnosis — autism and down syndrome.
She lives this life. She is our expert on inclusion when it comes to education and on universal design. It’s how education is presented. We’re so fortunate with our close relationship with CrossFit. We use their similar offering system to deliver the online education.
It’s not just you’re hoping in some Google Classroom. I mean, it flows, it interacts, there’s clickables, you watch videos, and then you do flashcards, and then there’s text that comes up, and then there’s a little quizzes that come up.
It’s very important to us that this knowledge is as practical as possible, when you graduate, you are ready to go.