Brian Wilson explains how CrossFit Walter Reed works to help injured veterans improve their fitness.
CrossFit Walter Reed began as an experiment with two athletes. Just by chance, I had two injured veterans referred to me in order to take part in my Working Wounded Program at Potomac CrossFit. This class meets twice per week and is designed to keep athletes training during injury. I had been coaching a Working Wounded class for about a year using Coach Greg Glassman’s Working Wounded article as my guide.
Capt. Chip Gabriel, fire support/field artillery officer, U.S. Army, survived multiple IED and indirect and direct fire incidents with his unit in 2009 in Afghanistan. After what he calls “some bumps and bruises,” in January 2010 he was incapacitated by a vertebral artery clot that led to a stroke. Cpl. Pat Murray, machine gunner, U.S. Marine Corps, was wounded during an IED blast Sept. 4, 2006, in Fallujah, Iraq. Pat is missing his right leg above the knee and sustained a host of other injuries.
Both men were referred to me separately but at the same time. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me as a coach to expand my knowledge of treating injured athletes, and I hoped I could do some good for Chip and Pat’s health.