Mesa fitness club works with adaptive athletes

Posted at 4:58 AM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 14:56:35-04

Sometimes getting to the gym takes all the willpower you have but a group of athletes in the Valley is proving that's exactly what you need — willpower.

"Don't ever use the words, 'I can't,'" says Stephanie Gunsalus."You can." 

It's something the 35-year-old has had to tell herself. 

Gunsalus carries a photo around of when she was in elementary school to remind her how far she's come. At just 7 years old she lost her leg to bone cancer. That little girl had no idea this grown woman could exist.

"Not at all," says Gunsalus. "I was so capable of doing so much more than I ever realized."

A.J. Richards owns the Rush Club in Mesa. Some pretty elite athletes train here and everyone is equal.

"Adaptive athletes, well do just that — they'll adapt," says Richards.

He not only trains but he started a competition where adaptive athletes compete right along with other competitors. The playing field is considered even. 

Jeremy Ogle lost his arm in a motorcycle crash. He scheduled his amputation around working out and competing.

"It's changed my life by honestly giving me my life back," says Ogle.

His surgery to remove his arm was just a few weeks ago. "You can't take anything that I have and what I'm able to do now," says Ogle.

Gunsalus has a message for other people who are doubting their ability: "Don't ever sell yourself short, It's just a leg and if it doesn't work that day, find a way."