Kevin Ogar is a competitive CrossFit athlete, a CrossFit affiliate gym owner and head coach, and Vice President of The Reveille Project, a non-profit he runs to help battle-worn veterans with mood disorders and physical disabilities. He strives to help the people who surround him — whether during the 12 hours a day he spends in the gym with his clients or with the adaptive athletes that Craig Hospital sends to him. Kevin is strong-willed and has a “get it done” attitude, but also has one of the best senses of humor out there. All of this is extremely impressive on its own, however, what makes it even more impressive is the fact that he does it all without the functionality of his lower body.
Kevin is a paraplegic.
A few years back, Kevin was at a competition in California where he was lifting barbells, just as he had done for 22 years. As he was lifting a heavily weighted barbell — first to his waist then up above his head — he aborted the lift and dropped the bar behind him. Unbeknownst to Kevin, someone had stacked a pile of bumper plates behind him and the dropped bar ricocheted off of the stack. When the bar bounced back it struck Kevin between the T11 and T12 vertebrae and severed his spine.
After Kevin was rushed to the hospital, he was told that he would be paralyzed from the hips down for the rest of his life. He would never be able to walk again. As Kevin laid shocked in his hospital bed, a long way from home and without any insurance, he couldn’t help but to feel thankful to still be alive.
“Doctors told me that if it wouldn’t have been for my cardiovascular health, it is highly likely that I would have died in surgery. The survival rate for the emergency surgery I had is around 12 percent worldwide. Doctors also told me that if I didn’t have such a dense muscle mass, it is likely that the barbell would have killed me on the spot,” Kevin said.
Kevin’s fitness is what saved his life the day of his accident, and because of that his injury would not stop him from doing what he loved to do. After his accident, his CrossFit family rallied behind him and helped him get back to a spot where he was healthy enough to be in the gym again.
“I never saw any reason to not go back into the CrossFit community. I got back into fitness almost immediately, I would even sneak out of the hospital to get in the gym,” Kevin says.
However, after he left the hospital Kevin subsequently suffered from a new problem. Doctors sent him home with a laundry list of prescription drugs to help him recover and the side effects kept him from doing all the things he loved.
“On the drugs the doctors at the hospital prescribed to me, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t read a book. I couldn’t function as a normal human. At that point, I would rather be in pain than not be able to think at all,” Kevin recalls. “They had me on three different painkillers and a number of medications just to deal with the side effects from the painkillers. They even tried to put me on anti-depressants when I clearly told them that I wasn’t depressed.”
During this time, Kevin turned to plant-based medicine to help him heal. He started taking CBD to relieve the pain he was having in his shoulders from pushing his wheelchair every day and realized that he was feeling better, sleeping better, and recovering faster.
“I use the Arcanum Quill every night before I go to bed and I also use Sarco Freeze for spot treatment as well,” says Kevin. “I always competed in a sport where they required drug testing, so for such a long time I strayed away from plant-based medicine. Now that I use CBD, I don’t have any pain in my elbows or shoulders for the first time since I was paralyzed and my body recovers much faster after working out.”
Although Kevin sees the benefits of using plant-based medicines to heal, he has some concerns about how and if others will adopt it.
“I think moving to alternative medicines will be hard because there is no money in it. Many doctors are pharmaceutical junkies and don’t want to put the time into learning about other ways to help people heal. I finally found a doctor that trusts my judgment, even though he still doesn’t fully agree.”
Kevin also wishes that more of his athletes would turn to alternative medicines just as he did to find relief and recover faster.
“People fear what they don’t know, I call it the white lab coat syndrome. If more people took the time to understand how plant-based medicine works, it would be hugely beneficial.”
In order to help people learn about alternative medicine, Kevin refers his athletes and mentees to use Gofire. In the Gofire App, they can understand how other people are using plant-based medicines in the community and explore how it fits into their own lives. They can also find what’s worked for others, track each dose and review the products that are helping them achieve the relief they seek. Kevin’s goal in life has always been to help people and by helping them understand how plant-based medicine can be beneficial, he is helping them heal.
“I was fortunate enough to be put into a wheelchair,” Kevin says. “I didn’t ask to be paralyzed, but the paralysis helped me reach thousands of people who may be going through something similar. There are some trials and tribulations that are really difficult about this injury. I don’t sugar coat it and I am brutally honest about it with others.”
Kevin views his injury as an opportunity. He believes that he was put on this earth for a purpose and that his purpose was to help other people realize that life is not over after dealing with a traumatic event or injury.
“You can sit and cry about what has happened to you, but what good is that going to do? Or, you can deal with what has happened to be positive about the situation. People who have some sort of faith, sense of community, and a great sense of humor usually handle hard situations better, and I try to be that person for others to look up to,” Kevin proclaims.
Kevin has made such a positive impact on the lives of so many after his injury and he has remained positive throughout the process. He even jokes with people about it. He often yells “ouch!” when people sit on his lap — and if he ever falls out of his chair (which can happen during a strenuous workout) he screams, “Oh no! I can’t feel my legs!”
The good-natured jokes are well-known to his friends and longtime colleagues, but can startle a stranger or first-time visitor to his gym. Still, Kevin wouldn’t have it any other way. He has and always will make the best of any situation that life throws at him. And although he doesn’t like to refer to himself as an inspiration, he is a truly moving individual whose positive outlook, humor, and drive has made an impact on thousands of lives around him. Gofire is lucky to be able to provide a platform for Kevin and his people to have a reliable way to seek relief through alternative medicine.