Savannah Mitcham, Wodapalooza and Agoge Challenge Champion, uses CrossFit to overcome spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
Savannah Mitcham, sophomore child and family services major from Lewisville, is a CrossFit powerhouse with multiple athletic achievements under her belt, that most of us could only dream of. Mitcham has triumphed over many obstacles related to cerebral palsy that keep her muscles tight.
After a tendon lengthening surgery her sophomore year of high school, a family friend suggested she try CrossFit. She and her mother looked into the program and found a gym where she lived at the time, in Ohio. CrossFit became her physical therapy after release from the surgery.
“I was my coaches first adaptive athlete and he did the best he could to figure out what would be best for me and how to adapt the workouts for me,” Mitcham said. “I might not have done the class workouts but he made specific workouts for me.”
After a move to Wisconsin, Mitcham went on to attend a Wodapalooza competition in 2016 in Miami, which proved to be a pivotal moment in Mitcham’s CrossFit journey. After competing in the international competition and adaptive CrossFit division, she received a 3rd place medal.
During her time at Wodapalooza, she said she remembers having a conversation with the woman sitting next to her, proof of Mitcham’s friendly and outgoing personality.
“She asked where I was from and then we found out that we lived right next to each other in Wisconsin,” Mitcham said. “She owned a gym with who, at the time, was her boyfriend, and they invited me. I ended up meeting the people that became my coaches there at Wodapalooza on accident.”
When she got back from the trip, she began training at the CrossFit gym in Wisconsin, still determined to progress in her athletic skills. Mitcham said she remembers really getting hooked on CrossFit because of her new coach, Frank.
“Frank really got me into doing CrossFit and all of the CrossFit movements,” Mitcham said. “He just told me that I was going to figure out a way to do it. He was my personal trainer for a long time and then I started taking classes because that’s what he wanted me to do.”
Mitcham also participated in the Agoge Challenge and placed 3rd. Despite her various achievements through competition, she said the most rewarding experience CrossFit has brought, was the opportunity to share her story with the CEO of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, at the CrossFit Games in 2017. She recalls the once-in-a-lifetime experience to be an emotional one.
“He cried and I cried because I was just so overwhelmed that the guy that made CrossFit was taking the time to meet me, learn about me, hear my story and learn about how CrossFit has helped me,” Mitcham said.
Mitcham said that while she was in Wisconsin, CrossFit became her whole life. After school she would spend her time at the gym and she remembers it to be like a second home. When she made the move to Abilene to attend ACU, she quickly became involved with CrossFit Abilene.
“My coach from Wisconsin actually talked to them before I came here and told them what I would need and how they could help me best,” Mitcham said. “My coaches made sure they knew that CrossFit was my life and tried their best to accommodate things, so it worked out well.”
Mitcham aspires to one day become a certified CrossFit trainer and help others to reach their full potential like her coaches did for her. She recognizes that CrossFit has taught her more than just how to workout and improve physical strength. The lessons she has learned can be applied to everyday life and has helped her in deeper ways than solely the physical.