MAH Interview with Adaptive Athlete and Co-Creator of the Crossfit Wheelchair, Michael Mills


Disabled sports and adaptive athletes have been a part of sporting culture and competition dating back to the World War II era. Over the past 75+ years, adaptive athletes have taken part in all sporting events, overcoming limitations not understood by their able-bodied counterparts. As health and fitness evolved and entered the 21st century, Crossfit became a major aspect of the health & fitness and athletic revolution. However, due it its unique nature of involving mostly body weight and barbell movements, this created a difficulty for adaptive athletes who wished to take part in the sport.

We have had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Mills, one of the countless adaptive crossfit athletes. However, Michael stands out from the crowd with his incredible, world-record holding accomplishments and his claim as co-inventor of the first ever Crossfit Wheelchair.

Modern Athletic Health:

Please tell us about your history and what lead you to becoming and adaptive athlete.

Michael:

On May 2nd, 1993 I was paralyzed by a drunk driver.. I was headed home from work and was almost home when I struck… I was only 16 when I was paralyzed. It really changed my world but it honestly changed my world for the better… People always freak out when I say that, but I look at it as a blessing in disguise.

Modern Athletic Health:

How did you come up with the idea for a crossfit wheelchair?

Michael:

When I started Crossfit, I only had my everyday chair which I used every day. It was my only source of transportation so to speak and if it was damaged, I would not be able to get around nor work.. I then started looking into what others were using… They were using Basketball chairs and Tennis Chairs.. Well each chair was designed for a certain sport. Not Crossfit. They were either too heavy or just overall too bulky for what I was trying to do.. So, I met up with my builder at Xcalibur Sports chairs in Madison, GA. We set down and came up with a plan. We searched the movements and we saw that there was a need for a chair that was built for Crossfit

Modern Athletic Health:

Were you into crossfit or other athletics before you became an adaptive athlete?

Michael:

Before Crossfit, I was into quite a few things.. I started wheelchair racing in 1998 and did that for quite some time. I have raced over 150 road and wheelchair track races in my life.. I am also an OCR athlete. By OCR, I am talking about obstacle course racing.. Spartan Races to be exact. I was the first ever paralyzed person to complete a Spartan race and quite a few others in the OCR world.. I also have completed several GORUCK Challenges, climbed a mountain on my hands and knees a few times.. My biggest accomplishment was this year on 04/18/2015 where I pulled a 4798lb SUV the length of a Football field in my wheelchair for a WORLD Record… So, you see, I was always active and loved the challenge.. That is how I found Crossfit

Modern Athletic Health:

What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an adaptive athlete, and how do you / have you overcome it?

Michael:

The biggest challenge in Crossfit is learning to adapt the WOD’s that are planned for the day and to do the WOD as best and as close to what an able bodied person would do.

Modern Athletic Health:

What is one of the greatest successes you've had as an adaptive athlete?

Michael:

Pulling for my world record this past April. That was the most rewarding… Pretty much anything I have done that someone said couldn’t be done will always be the most fun..

Modern Athletic Health:

How is adaptive crossfit different than traditional crossfit? How is it similar?

Michael:

Different is having to adapt to the WODS.. For example, I am not able to use my legs, so I have to figure out something that is similar to a leg movement with my arms.. What is similar is that I get beat up just like an abled bodied person…lol…. We all take the beating. We all go for the time and we all try to better ourselves

Modern Athletic Health:

What message do you have for individuals who are just starting out on their adaptive athlete journey?

Michael:

Believe in yourself. Believe in the fact that anything is possible. Don’t allow anyone tell you that you can’t…. I am living proof that you can

Modern Athletic Health:

What are your goals for 2016?

Michael:

2016, is going to be fun.. I plan on doing more Crossfit competitions… I did my first event of 2016 at the 2016 WODApalooza.. This was huge and such an honor to get there, but it was very costly and I have set up a GOFUNDME page to get assist in getting to more events this year. Adaptive athletes do not get big sponsorships to help us get to our events.. Airlines even charge us to transport or sports chairs.

My GOFUNDME page is https://www.gofundme.com/8zcjxqbd

I am currently saving money for a trip to the west coast this summer. I just can't name it yet as I have to wait for the official announcement.

This month I will be crawling up Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, GA for Charity again. This event will be my 4th time crawling this mountain for charity.

In March, I have the 2016 Working Wounded Games Regional event for only adaptive Crossfit Athletes.

I am working on something really big for 2016 but now you will just have to wait and follow me on Facebook to see what else is coming up!

Modern Athletic Health:

Can you give us a little more info about the wheel chair. Development, how you designed it/why it is designed the way it is, etc. And where it can be purchased?

Michael

After I started Crossfit, I quickly saw that my everyday Wheelchair was not going to work. I needed something that was more stable and fit more for Crossfit. So, I reached out to Marty Frierson of Xcalibur Sportschairs in Madison, Ga. I set down with Marty and we discussed the movements of Crossfit and what we thought the chair needed. Marty went a step further and went to a local box and watched and studied the movements. He got into a chair, thought about the movements and went to work. We thought about what the chair needed as far as stability, center of gravity, a wheelie bar in the rear that would keep me from falling backwards when I did any movement that required overhead. We needed the chair to be lighter and faster. We looked into other adaptive athletes and what they were using. Most are using a basketball chair. The basketball chairs have too much camber of the wheels to do proper deadlifts. The basketball chair was too heavy and had add ons that were not needed. Plus a basketball chair is seated higher up as well. The basketball chair was not a good fit. So, we took the idea and we built a chair with less camber, lower to the ground and even lighter. We even built a hook up to do sled pulls with. In the end, we came up with a Crossfit inspired Sports chair.

You can contact Xcalibur Sportschairs at

https://m.facebook.com/XcaliburSportsChairs/

We sincerely thank Michael Mills for taking the time to share his experiences and insights with us!

pescience
SNS LEAN EDGE
15% OFF SITE WIDE
ENTER CODE MODERN AT CHECKOUT
hps supps cheat meal
BLR LOGO.jpg

 MAH25 FOR 25% OFF

modern athletic health health and fitness tips health supplements
ModernAthleticHealth-VasoForceXT-375x120
modern athletic health health and fitness tips health supplements
modern athletic health health and fitness tips health supplements

© 2015-2019 Modern Athletic Health, LLC

THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR ILLNESS. IT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL USE ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY DIET OR EXERCISE PROGRAM