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Adaptive athlete supports fellow SCI survivors back into fitness

Through his role as a personal trainer, Tom Green is helping people with mobility disabilities achieve their ambitions and potential

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A former soldier who has become a world-leading adaptive athlete after being paralysed in a road traffic accident is now helping to support others with spinal cord injury and mobility disabilities into fitness. 

Tom Green is building a career as an adaptive personal trainer, supporting people both in-person and through online sessions to develop their fitness despite whatever physical challenges they face. 

Having joined his friend’s business, Crazy Strength in Salisbury, Tom has added an adaptive aspect to the powerlifting, weightlifting and CrossFit it routinely offers. 

Already, Tom is working with a number of clients in building their strength and confidence, and helping them to negotiate the new challenges they face. 

“I did personal training before the accident, and training is very different for me now,” says Tom, a former physical training instructor (PTI) in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. 

“After your accident, you don’t immediately know what things are supposed to look like, or how you can do things differently, so that’s where I can help. 

“If you’ve done fitness before, it’s a process to get back into it, and everybody’s process will be different. It takes a lot of mental fortitude, support structure and time. There’s a lot of soul searching, and you have to ask yourself a lot of questions.

“But if people are ready to do that, then I’m here.”

While Tom has become recognised as a global leader in his field for his adaptive fitness – winning his category at the recent Wodcelona event and being named fourth in the global WheelWod Games last year – everyone’s progress and gains are different, he says. 

“The main thing for me is about the impact in the real world, on their everyday life,” says Tom, who is supported by Breakthrough Case Management.

“You’ll get a client telling you that they’ve put their trousers on so much easier today, or that they could stand up in the shower, and that’s a huge achievement for them.

“These are the small, very pertinent points which make a massive difference to a person’s life, and is so important for the adaptive athlete. 

“But then you go to the other extreme, and one of my clients competes, we actually go head to head against each other in a few competitions. We’ve shared podiums together. That is fantastic, and is really important in us growing the competitive scene. 

“But not everyone needs to be aiming for that level of fitness to make a big difference to their lives.” 

Tom is also playing his role in growing participation in adaptive sport through organising events and competitions. 

“It’s definitely a growing scene. Myself and a group of other adaptive athletes ran our first solely adaptive competition in the UK last June, and we’re putting pen to paper now to get another one in the calendar,” he says. 

“We had about 30 competitors last time, but the appetite for this is really growing, and it’s becoming more known globally too. With the growing profile will come the participation. We’re moving in the right direction.”

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