The Athletes of CrossFit Candor's Power Hour

Kylie Spinks was the inspiration behind CrossFit Candor’s Power Hour for adaptive athletes. Kylie Spinks was the inspiration behind CrossFit Candor’s Power Hour for adaptive athletes. CrossFit Candor

CrossFit has a reputation for being a tough workout. And it is. But according to Jamie Cormier, co-owner of Tuscaloosa’s CrossFit Candor, it is workout that can be altered to benefit a wide range of needs. 

She says it can work, even for kids with cerebral palsy. And autism. And spina bifida. 

The proof is in the Power Hour, an idea that was developed when Vera Spinks and Candor developed a program for Kylie Spinks, Vera’s daughter with cerebral palsy.   

“We were inspired by others in the CrossFit community who were thriving despite physical restrictions. So, in hopes of improving Kylie’s quality of life, among other things, we started doing CrossFit with her once a week,” Cormier said. 

That was two years ago. The Power Hour has now grown to include six participants with a range of special needs.    

Every two weeks, a member of CrossFit Candor becomes a coach to a new child for Power Hour. 

“We work hard towards their goals using CrossFit movements modified to their current abilities. Many of these children would love to walk one day, but could not stand with heavy support on their first night,” Cormier said. “Kylie, who is very close to standing with no support, could not support her weight our first time together. With the help of some University of Alabama wheelchair basketball players who understand her plight, she’s on the cusp of walking, holding the back of a basketball wheelchair as she goes. Her goal is in sight.” 

Bradley (7), Cooper (4), and Hank (15)are the current boys of the group. While they differ in ages and current abilities, Cormier said each brings his own strengths to Power Hour.  

“Bradley has amazing core strength and his feet, though they are the size of an NBA superstar, are walking in a walker, ready to run. Cooper is the life of the party. His spirit and laughter is contagious, and he is now standing from a seated position and walking for the first time,” she said. “Hank walked the length of our 40+ foot rig, his longest unassisted walk ever. He works harder than any athlete in our box."  

The Power Hour is free for the families involved, and Cormier said no coach receives payment for their services.  

“We are so inspired by these athletes. Whatever small amount of help we’re giving them, we’re paid in joy and inspiration.”

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Hanson Watkins

Ms. Watkins graduated from Mountain Brook High School and lives in Birmingham with her two boys, Jack, and Charlie. She has bachelor's degrees in psychology and creative writing from Emory University, and an MBA and master's in health administration from Georgia State University. 
 
Hanson spent 10 years working in the healthcare industry in Atlanta before moving back to Birmingham several years ago to work for her father, Jim Watkins. 
 
She credits her father, who has owned several businesses over the years, for giving her the entrepreneurial spirit. Her brother, Josh Watkins, is a Birmingham lawyer who helped start the Birmingham Angel Network, a venture capital organization. 

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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