EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – TJ Griffin is a quadriplegic who broke his neck playing football. But he still needs to work out.
“The only way to really do it is cardio,” Griffin said. “Obviously I can’t jog real well anymore.”
Same goes for Jim Shires, who was paralyzed after an accident on a ski slope.
“I tried to do some physical therapy through the insurance,” Shires said. “That’s only good for about two weeks.”
“All of us with a disability, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, even more important than the average person,” he added. “The problem is we can’t go to 24 Hour Fitness and work out. There’s no machines.”
That’s where the Neuro Fitness Foundation comes in. The nonprofit gym in Euless houses pieces of training equipment accessible to persons with limited mobility or in a wheelchair.
Members pay what they can afford, the rest is supported by donations and volunteers. Shires, for instance, is assisted into upper body workout stations. His hands are strapped to the weight lifting equipment so he’s able to exercise his upper body.
“It’s been a lifesaver,” Shires said. “I can tell if I miss a week like if you’re sick or something. Man, my muscles tighten up. My whole body, just, you can’t do anything.”
Griffin is able to use specialized equipment to work out his upper arms. He’s also the gym’s current president. He recognizes there’s more to the gym than just a physical workout, he said.
“I only have my shoulders and biceps but if I can get those as strong as possible its going to make my life a whole lot easier,” Griffin said. “You’ve got to keep building those muscles. But more importantly you’ve got to build your mind, your spirit and your soul because you come here and you realize you’re not alone.”
Thanks to donations, more than 200 people with all manner of disabilities have a place to strengthen their bodies and their spirits.
“I like coming here because everybody is basically in the same boat, trying to maintain what we’ve got,” Shires said.