Last month, Kevin Ogar of Englewood, Colo. was like any other serious CrossFit competitor -- insanely strong, a huge fan of the CrossFit community and ready to win money at the CrossFit games.
But during a lift known as the "snatch" while at the OC Throwdown CrossFit-inspired competition in Costa Mesa, Calif., last month, Ogar dropped the 240-pound barbell after getting it up over his head.
The weight then did something crazy -- it bounced off the floor behind him, hit a stack of nearby weights, which flew and hit his back, severing his spinal cord at the T11 level. Ogar is currently undergoing rehab at Craig Hospital near his hometown.
CrossFit has long been known for its intense strength and conditioning, and lifts like the snatch are common. Participants do everything from heavy olympic lifting to conditioning moves like rope climbs, kettle-bell swings and pull-ups. It's definitely not a program for the timid. Ogar just had bad luck.
Ogar had no insurance at the time of his injury. He was a part-time CrossFit instructor in Denver, Colo., and a part-time cashier at Whole Foods. The CrossFit community however has lit up like wildfire after hearing Ogar's story, which went viral and a monumental fundraising campaign began days after his injury.
Setting a hefty goal of $500,000, the CrossFit community has helped raise an unbelievable $354,029 since launching its fundraising effort after his Jan. 11 injury. With the fundraising site aptly titled OGAR Strong, anyone interested in helping out can do so here.
Hundreds of CrossFit gyms across the world are to thank for raising this money for Ogar's hospital and post-injury expenses. Money that will be sorely needed for everything from bills to medical equipment, supplies and adapting his vehicle and home.
The amazing way the CrossFit community has come to Ogar's aid makes sense to Toby Jurging, CrossFit coach and owner of SPC Strength & Conditioning in Kent, Ohio. "The camaraderie of training with someone that is pushing just like you are builds a bond," he says. "And that bond is universal...When Ogar was injured, the community could relate to the movement, the drive, the sacrifice."
As for Ogar's journey, it's a tough road ahead. His spinal cord was torn at the T11 level and doctors have given him a grim diagnosis. He will still have torso control and full upper body movement. Even if he doesn't regain use of his legs, he'll still be able to live independently.
Feeling inspired? Find out how you can involved with Kevin Ogar's recovery effort here.