CrossFit trainer Kevin Ogar suffered a severe spinal injury in a recent competition. Now the CrossFit community is spearheading efforts to raise money for his medical expenses.
Ogar's injury occurred last Sunday when he was performing a weightlifting move at the 2014 OCT competition in Costa Mesa, CA. One friend described the injury as a "freak accident." Numerous reports about Ogar and his injury have now spread on social media and to media outlets all over the world. A short video of the injury was posted on YouTube by the account "HelpKevin Ogar," and a frame-by-frame breakdown is now on Google+.
Ogar, a native of O'Fallon, MO, who is a trainer at CrossFit Unbroken in Englewood, CO, underwent two operations to repair his spinal cord. According to a report by St. Louis TV station KSDK, Ogar is paralyzed from the waist down.
"He went to his first physical therapy and got his back brace on for the first time," Vince Ogar, Kevin's father, told KSDK from his son's California hospital. "He had two operations and finished up the one late last night. Spirit-wise he's doing pretty good."
More than $200,000 has been raised to help pay the medical costs for Ogar, who does not have health insurance. That figure is expected to increase over the next few days as news of Ogar's accident and support spreads. A Facebook page as well as two websites, www.kevinogar.com and https://fundly.com/kevin-ogar-s-recovery, have been created for information and donations.
"The CrossFit community has shown up in force," Vince Ogar told KSDK. "They've been awesome. Not just their support financially, but their support with prayers and coming by to see Kev. It's amazing."
The OCT, which organized the Orange County Throwdown, posted a statement on its Facebook page and website Thursday "after observing the amount of misinformation and speculation" about details of the injury. The OCT said it procured liability insurance as well as state, county and engineering licenses for the event. It also said it had a full medical team onsite during the entire weekend competition. Medical personnel attended to Ogar within seconds of the injury, and paramedics arrived minutes afterward, according to the OCT.
"We are proud of Kevin, his family, friends and community who have shown an immense amount of grace under pressure," the OCT said. "What is important is that this community has banded together to help one of our own. The OCT is doing everything we can to assist in that effort. We ask that the community continue to respect Kevin and continue the positive efforts to provide assistance to a tremendous athlete who needs our solidarity."
A spokesperson from CrossFit's corporate office in Santa Cruz, CA, told Club Industry that CrossFit Inc. did not organize, sanction or license the OCT event. In a post on its discussion board, CrossFit said it will seed a "significant contribution" to help fund Ogar's medical needs.
"Kevin Ogar, a great athlete and friend of the community, suffered a terrible injury this past weekend while competing in the OC Throwdown," CrossFit wrote on Jan. 15. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to him as he begins his journey to recovery. One of the challenges Kevin faces is the short- and long-term financial impact of this tragedy. As a community, we have a duty and responsibility to care for our own in times of need."
Ogar is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he played rugby and served as a strength coach, according to one report. He competed in powerlifting competitions in high school and continued through college. Ogar began following the CrossFit regimen in 2008.