SCI Life July 2013

Retired Paralympian’s New Way to Train
sci7132Chris Stoutenburg, also known as “Stouty,” is one beast of a man. A T6-7 paraplegic from Collingwood, Ontario, he made a name for himself as one of Canada’s most decorated wheelchair basketball players. He’s a nine-time Canadian all-star and won two Paralympic gold medals (Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004).

Now 35, Stoutenburg’s life is taking an exciting new direction, both physically and personally. He was married in 2011 and had a baby boy earlier this year. And three years ago his physical life was transformed when he was introduced to CrossFit — a series of intense bodyweight workouts. Since this discovery, his physical abilities have skyrocketed.

sci7131“I do almost everything that the rest of the people in the class do,” he says. “I climb ropes, do pull-ups, push-ups, press weights overhead, sprints, row, Olympic lifts, and I’ve adapted a lot of movements that are leg-based and do them with my arms.” He says his balance, power, speed and coordination have all improved. “I’ve also found ways to engage muscles that I was told were not possible due to my injury” (back extensors and core muscles).

And he believes Crossfit can work for all abilities. “It’s extremely scalable,” he says. “If you look into the training and physical strength programs for people with disabilities, a lot of it is isolating function and movement to specific muscle groups. Which isn’t bad, but I believe we should be pushing our limits and striving to become more than the disability.”

To make what we don’t have less of a factor in everyday living, he says, “Develop what we do have, and you may just find that you’ll develop more function by engaging and strengthening muscles you have limited use of now.”

View his YouTube channel showing adapted CrossFit exercises —  www.youtube.com/channel/UCDphnCzYdBVMX0OiLA7w9-w

A Love to Emulate
When society portrays an epic love story, the story of a nondisabled woman falling madly in love with a C5-6 quadriplegic isn’t what we usually see. This is exactly why Dana Brown Ritter, 33, the female counterpart of the relationship, decided to create a blog — LoveLikeThisLife.com — to share with the world how she and Michael make it work.

And do they ever. Dana and Michael’s 2009 marriage was the culmination of an eight-year long-distance relationship (they met right after his injury in 1996), and from their home in Washington D.C., they share all aspects of their relationship. From the cute benefits of being with a quad (“great elbow massages”) to the couple’s latest struggles with letting a PCA into their home, you will find it on their blog.

And recently, Dana released an e-book reflecting on being both a caregiver and wife, titled We Are: A Caregiving Manifesto.

Go to www.lovelikethislife.com.

Brazilian Fashionista
The loud bright colors of Brazilian fashion have found a new home in the adapted designs of Candida Cirino. Cirino is a Brazilian fashion designer with a passion for creating feminine adaptive clothing (notably lacy wheelchair gloves) and she’s even staged some amazing wheelchair fashion mobs.

Check out her designs: www.candidacirino.com.br

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