Wheelchair Bound Spina Bifida Patient Finishes Top 12 in National CrossFit Competition After One Year of Training

Sydney Mccallister is a 32-year-old woman diagnosed with spina bifida. Essentially, the condition means that the neural tube has not closed all the way during the first month of embryonic development. This causes the bones surrounding the spinal column to not fully close around the nerves of the spinal cord. An area of the spinal cord can then protrude through the spine, leading to nerve damage. This opening can be surgically closed; however, the nerve damage is unfortunately permanent.

Spina bifida patients experience varying degrees of paralysis in their lower limbs. Mccallister herself is wheelchair bound as a result of the condition. But despite this, she says she works out twice a day, every day.

Finding CrossFit

Mccalister said she wanted to try a new activity and stumbled across CrossFit. She said it looked fun, and decided to join. She now trains at Bear Canyon CrossFit regularly.

After just one year of training, she finished in the top 12 in a national competition for adaptive athletes. She’s now qualified to compete in the 2019 WheelWOD Games next month which will be held in Canada. There, she will compete with some of the best adaptive athletes who will travel from across the globe for the competition.

Mccalister says,

“It’s not really harder to do anything, because it’s all I know.”

Her message is that if you try, you can really do anything you set your mind to. She believes that nothing is truly impossible.

You can read more, and watch a video on Mccallister’s CrossFit story here.


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