Adaptive athletes shine at East Texas gym

Local News

The 2016 Olympics kick off on KETK in just a few days. Locally, we’ve got some athletes who are pretty impressive in their own right. A Tyler gym is creating a place for adaptive athletes to fit into their community.

Each week at Premier CrossFit, five very special athletes show up to exercise and bring a little inspiration along with them. One of those athletes is 21-year-old Nicholas Cooke, who has Down Syndrome, but he is certainly not limited.

“He moves really well, he knows how his body moves too,” said Personal Trainer Thacher Riddle. “He’s very coordinated.”

Cooke will tell you his favorite part about working out is the pull-ups, cranking out 11 of them.

The owner of Premier CrossFit, Maranatha Chapman, said they welcome athletes at all levels, but there’s something special about those who lift more than weights.

“He’ll be here with 50 people and light up the room,” she said. “He is just that bright spot to our coaches and our members.”

“He can get tired, it tests his patience on the weight lifting part and he’s like ‘man, I just gotta dance,’ so he’ll just start dancing,” added Riddle.

To them, it’s not about creating a new environment. Chapman said it’s about recognizing that anyone can be a part of the fitness world.

“Whether you have prosthetic limbs or whatever it is, that’s something we’re moving into especially as we see more of that need,” she said. “We have a kid who doesn’t have feet or hands. The first time they put straps around him with these hooks and he got on the pull-up bar and he could do pull-ups. It was amazing.” 

Premier CrossFit is located at 1906 Capital Drive in Tyler. They are working on adding a class specifically for adaptive athletes. For more information, visit here.

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