Wounded former Marine uses Crossfit to turn life around - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Wounded former Marine uses Crossfit to turn life around

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Wounded veteran Greg Caron said Crossfit helped him get out of a dark place in his life. (WFSB photo) Wounded veteran Greg Caron said Crossfit helped him get out of a dark place in his life. (WFSB photo)

A wounded former Marine said he turned to Crossfit to turn his life around.

Greg Caron, 30, said he was nearly killed in Afghanistan.

Now, he uses Crossfit as a means to stay fit and active.

Crossfit mixes weightlifting, gymnastics and interval training.

“When we're working up, going on our deployments, we're always working out, getting in best shape we can possibly be in,” Caron said. “So when we do get over there, we're mentally strong, we're physically strong, so we hold high standards for ourselves.”

An improvised explosive device in Afghanistan nearly cost Caron his life. He said it left him with a badly injured arm and without both legs.

“I had come back from Walter Reed [Army Medical Center] in 2012,” he said. “While I was there, they prescribed you medications and you weren't really living a healthy lifestyle, and I kind of brought that back with me.”

As a result, Caron said he turned to alcohol.

“I started drinking, and drinking a lot where I got uncomfortable with it,” he said. “I was going through a point of depression, and you see it with a lot of veterans. A lot come back and they start drinking, start living [an] unhealthy lifestyle.”

He said that’s not how he wanted his story to end.

“About three years ago I started doing Crossfit,” Caron said. “My wife introduced me to it.”

It was a decision he said changed his life.

“It's made me challenge myself,” Caron said. “That's what's great about Crossfit, everybody has some type of goal, so we all feed off of that and we reach our goals together.”

At Bionic Crossfit in Newington, he was become not just a teammate, but an inspiration to other athletes.

“Having him around has definitely been awesome and inspires people to push themselves further,” said Chris Kishimoto, a Crossfit coach.

“The cool thing about Crossfit is it's as much mental as it is physical, getting through a workout," said Christopher Vasseur, Bionic Crossfit. "And it's cool when he's doing a workout right next to you, and you can look over at him and see what he's doing, with two prosthetic legs and he's pushing. It drives people to keep going.”

Caron said he recently completed the Crossfit open workouts, which included walking lunges on his prosthetic legs, for the first time.

“Chris laughs at me and says can you even overhead lunge with weights and I said no, but I'm going to try,” Caron said. “I just bumped down to 35, but doing the lunges itself was uncomfortable for me, but I did it.”

Due to some mobility issues, Caron does have to modify certain movements. However, he wants other veterans to know they can do it too.

“Anybody can do Crossfit,” Caron said. “I highly encourage other veterans to come check it out.”

He said Crossfit helped him get out of the dark place he was in, and with 22 veterans committing suicide every day, he said he hoped his story will move others to do the same.

“We buried a good friend of ours last year, and that's another thing that keeps me motivated, after losing someone who is close to you and who you've gone to war with and that you are very tight with, and after letting him go, it takes a big effect on you,” Caron said.

He said he felt the pain and wouldn’t want the pain on his family if he decided to commit suicide.

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