“If she can do it, you can do it,” trainer Amy Ferro says of athlete Marissa Lelogeais. Marissa is a CrossFitter at CrossFit Southie in Boston, Mass., who has cerebral palsy and a visual impairment that left her partially blind. Those conditions, however, haven’t stopped her from CrossFitting. In fact, CrossFit has helped Marissa build her physical capability.
Having been in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries, Marissa was no stranger to exercise for rehabilitation and physical therapy. Ferro started Marissa’s training with very simple and basic movements like biking, swimming and rudimentary weightlifting. After Ferro taught Marissa how to jump rope, she saw a change in her client.
“Her body was adapting to the training, and she was getting better every day,” Ferro says.
Ferro continued by adding CrossFit elements into her training.
“What better way to teach someone body awareness than a clean and jerk?” Ferro says. “And she loved it.”
Modifying CrossFit to meet Marissa’s needs has been a success for the pair. Marissa can take on any workout of the day and does so with the support and camaraderie of her classmates.
“For me, really, it’s a release. It’s a release of tension. It’s a release of stress and it makes me feel so empowered and so good about myself,” Marissa says.
Video by Again Faster.
Additional reading: Truly Special Populations by Josh MacDonald, published Aug. 15, 2010.