Crossfit coach paralyzed by freak accident with barbell; community rallies to raise money

Kevin Ogar coached at Crossfit Unbroken

DENVER - A CrossFit coach and athlete who taught in Englewood will soon be recuperating at a hospital, hoping to regain the use of his legs after a freak accident with a barbell last weekend.

Kevin Ogar was left paralyzed during a fitness competition in Southern California and now the Crossfit community around the world is rallying around him, raising money to help with his medical bills because he has no medical insurance.

Ogar was performing a routine powerlift or "snatch" during the OC Throwdown event in Costa Mesa, Calif., last Sunday when the accident occurred.

Ogar lifted a heavy dumbbell to his waist and then up over his head. However, he bailed on the lift, letting the bar bounce to the floor behind him.  But the barbell bounced against another set of weights, came up, and hit Ogar in the back, critically injuring his spine, according to ABC News.

Ogar fell to the floor and could not move his legs.

"When impact was made, he jumped almost like someone shot him," Ogar's friend,  training-partner and boss Matt Hathcock told ABC News.  Hathcock owns the Crossfit Unbroken gym where Ogar trains and coaches.

"At this time, Kevin has no movement below the waist and will be faced with numerous surgeries and a long road ahead for rehabilitation," it explains on the fundraising site KevinOgar.com

By Friday afternoon, his friends, family and the Crossfit community worldwide had raised more than $220,000 for Ogar.

Ogar's goal was to make it to the CrossFit Games, a national competition for top CrossFit athletes broadcast on ESPN each year. The winner receives as much as $275,000 and a chance for national sponsorships.

"There's the ability to make an income," Hathcock said. "Are we NFL players? No, but you are able to make money from the sport and Kevin was at that level. It seems like a greater loss because a lot of his livelihood was dependent on the use of his legs."

Ogar, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall and 210 pounds, works part-time at Whole Foods and coaches and competes in CrossFit, a high-intensity workout that combines weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting that has grown in popularity across the country.

Ogar has completed two surgeries, had screws and rods implanted in his back, and will soon be moved to Craig Hospital, according to the Ogar Strong Facebook page.

His spirits have been high and he has adopted an attitude of seeing his injury as fitting into God's plan, Hathcock told ABC News. He says Ogar's friends and family remain hopeful that he will walk again.

That optimism is echoed on the fundraising campaign web site, which reads,  "Please help Kevin get back on his feet. He is an amazing athlete and motivator and he has so much potential ahead of him!!!"

"It's true that there's a strength in numbers and together we can rally to embrace Kevin and his family as they embark on this challenging life-changing journey," a post on KevinOgar.com said.

To learn more about Kevin Ogar, or to contribute to his medical care, visit www.kevinogar.com.