This Is Carolina: Special needs athletes excel at crossfit workouts

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - Every Tuesday and Thursday night at Vivamus Crossfit in Murrells Inlet, a group of special needs athletes gather to take part in a CrossFit workout.

Jesse Cox, who owns the gym and is also a Myrtle Beach firefighter, loves coaching the athletes just as much as they love the workouts.

“Everybody’s limits are a little bit different, but we’re able to work around with that and work with them with that and have fun. So, I mean, I love it,” Cox said.

Van Abbott’s son Jacob takes the classes. They’ve been a massive help to him.

“He’s lost almost 15 pounds,” Van Abbott said of his son. “And some of the other ones have lost quite a bit of weight. It’s been great for their confidence too.”

The improvements in fitness levels help the athletes in other athletic events too.

“All these kids do all sports with us,” Abbott said. “They do golf, basketball and softball. And especially in basketball, this has been a huge help to them. They’ve got a lot more wind when they’re playing ball. Honestly, the jumping and their shots are a little bit easier, so we see tremendous, tremendous results in their other sports activities out of this. It’s been huge for all of them.”

A big focus on the workouts is form.

Since each athlete has differing levels of abilities, Cox personalizes each workout for each athlete.

“When everybody came in, they were very shy, they were quiet,” Cox said. “Their movements aren’t where you see them today. And we worked on that day after day.”

Cox’s mission to help these athletes is personal.

“My sister has a son, my nephew, who is special needs also,” Cox said. “Keenan was born, he had a stroke in the womb, so he’s got some learning disabilities. I’ve been able to go ahead and work and get him snowboarding and skiing and all that kind of stuff, and he’s thrived.”

Now, Cox passes on that same passion for helping his nephew to his athletes at Vivamus Crossfit.

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