Adaptive Crossfit classes help injured veterans get into shape

Crossfit workouts can seem intimidating for first-timers. But imagine trying to get back into working out as you’re recovering from a wartime injury.

1st Lieutenant Victor Prato is back in the gym less than two years after he was nearly killed in Afghanistan.

“During one of our patrols, my patrol—and specifically my truck—was targeted by a suicide bomber,” said Prato.

He suffered a spinal cord injury and spent more than 200 days undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital and the James A. Haley V.A. Hospital in Tampa.

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“Spending most of your time lying on your back is very… I felt trapped,” said Prato.

That feeling changed when Prato learned that Cigar City Crossfit offers free adaptive classes designed for healing athletes.

“I started playing football in high school,” said Prato. “I played football in college and then I was in the Army. So I was working out most of my life. So it certainly wasn’t something I was going to stop doing once I got hurt.”

At Cigar City Crossfit, half of the staff members are trained in adaptive classes.

“We want every workout to be for everybody,” said Cigar City owner Benjamin Bunn. “What we want to do is make sure whatever the intended stimulus for that workout is, is still maintained while making sure that they’re still able to do a lot of the same movements, do a lot of the same things that a lot of the class is doing.”

The workouts may be modified, but the goal is the same—getting stronger.

“I’m going to continue to do this for the rest of my life,” said Prato. “I’m going to keep working out and keep exercising when I can and just try and stay in shape.”

Visit for more information about Cigar City Crossfit.