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The Adaptive Training Foundation empowers individuals living with physical or traumatic impairments through exercise and community by bridging the gap between basic functional rehabilitation and adapted sport.

For many adaptive athletes, there can be a societal stigma around what they can and cannot do. Fortunately, ATF is there to be the encouragement and support to help them "defy impossible" (one of ATF's taglines) and overcome the unique challenges posed by their injuries through their training. 

Recently, ATF took their newest team of athletes, Class 22, on their REDEPLOY trip to Park City, Utah equipped in their Tundra Quilted jackets and all. This trip gives the athletes the opportunity to test their new abilities discovered through training and for many, this was their first time on snow since their injury. We checked in to get all of the details on how it all went down.

We're so thrilled to be connecting again! For anyone that's unfamiliar, can you give us an overview of what ATF is and the work you do?

ATF: Adaptive Training Foundation provides hope through movement and community for individuals living with physical disabilities. Our nine week ReDefine program offers cost-free physical and mindset training along with a community of support for our athletes.

So what exactly is the Class 22 Redeploy? 

ATF: The ReDeploy trip is the final week of our ReDefine program. It's a celebration trip for all that our athletes accomplished and a challenge to continue pushing their limits! Class 22 took a trip to the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah where we spent the week doing activities ranging from archery to rock climbing. Then we finished off the trip with a few days shredding down the mountain! The athletes absolutely crushed it and it sparked some new passions as well.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience during the ReDeploy trip?

Asa Copeland, ATF Athlete: "Not only was the redeploy experience super enlightening and an exciting experience, it was a big challenge for me with my disability. It was my first time doing a bunch of things, from flying on a plane to six new sport experiences (pickleball, hand cycling, skiing, rock climbing, archery and sled hockey). It gave me a community of people to do these things with that made me comfortable and motivated me to accomplish these things. I learned how to adapt to my new life in the most normal way possible including going out to restaurants/bars and socializing in public without feeling self conscious of being in a wheelchair and being “different”. After ReDeploy I feel more confident in my abilities and what I am able to accomplish (or at least try), including getting a job and going back to college."

Jamie Blanek, ATF Athlete: "My time with ATF on our ReDeploy trip was amazing. I had the opportunity to experience new activities that I have never done before. We got to try these adaptive sports together as a team and to encourage each other. The National Ability Center is such an incredible place for those with disabilities to be able to go and be a part of something that makes you feel empowered to do anything. My journey has been very goal specific with snowboarding being my main focus since my accident to be able to do it again. Thanks to my training at ATF and our ReDeploy trip with the NAC, I was able to snowboard 10 short months after being critically injured and having a traumatic amputation. It’s places like these that make it possible for people like me to feel like we are capable and worthy of anything."

How has or does ATF support you on your journey through recovery (even if that journey is lifelong)?

Ryan Nabinger, ATF Athlete: "The support I've already received from the Adaptive Training Foundation has changed my life, without question. They also continue to provide support to the alumni and have kept in touch since we've left, always inquiring on how they can aid me in my journey. I've found a new tribe and I hope to visit them soon and often. Going through their intense ReDefine program, I increased my functional strength and stamina well beyond what I thought was possible (especially in 9 weeks)! That alone has improved my quality of life, in ways I cannot even express. Before the program, for example, I could not even do a parallel air squat: every time I was on my knees I was in danger of folding and to rise from a chair required me to push off with my hands. Now I can squat, flip tires, deadlift, and do burpees just to list a few functional changes. I can also squat all the way to the ground when I'm out of my prostheses now, so I'm no longer in danger of folding while moving around on my knees. 

But the ATF doesn't just train you physically! My past lifestyle and long recovery really left me feeling helpless and worthless. I lacked confidence and excelled at self-deprecation. The ATF tribe doesn't use the word "can't" or the phrase "have to" when referring to a challenge and this attitude has been transferred to me. I look and feel more confident than ever; I'm constantly receiving remarks about my new "glow" almost daily, it seems. I really feel like my time spent at ATF has unlocked a brighter future that I may not have found otherwise."

Jamie Blanek, ATF Athlete: "ATF has truly changed my life. I started there in a wheelchair and now I’m snowboarding! It’s unbelievable the transformation that I have gone through while being an athlete in ATF’s program. I know without a doubt that ATF has made my quality of life better. My recovery process progressed so much faster while doing the program than it ever would had I just been home doing physical therapy and rehab. They challenged me, they pushed me, they gave me the space and the opportunity to transform into the new person that I am since my accident.

ATF is my family. That gym is my home. When I walk into ATF I feel a sense of belonging that I don’t get in the outside world. People there understand what I’m going through and they want to see me be the best version of myself. I am so grateful for ATF for allowing me to be an athlete in their program and for believing in me."

Tom Wagstaff, ATF Athlete: "ATF meant hope to me. It has given me the confidence and independence that I didn't have before. It has also greatly helped with my mental well-being."

Ben Williams, ATF Athlete: "Tribalism! I was in a very bad place fighting my cancer.ATF is a complete game changer."

The crew looked sharp in those Tundra jackets! Can we get a gear review?

Jamie Blanek, ATF Athlete: "The Tundra jacket is so awesome! The color is so cool, I get so many compliments. I have it with me at all times. It’s perfect to wear with anything. I layer it over my shirts or under a jacket. It’s warm and wind resistant. Great to travel in as well. I highly recommend this to anyone that needs a light but effective, high quality jacket!"

Ryan Nabinger, ATF Athlete: "I really like my Rhone jacket and it is currently my go to jacket when I use one. I love the stylish blue outside and orange inside color scheme. It's quite warm for being so light, but it isn't sweaty and I love it."

Asa Copeland, ATF Athlete: "I loved the way it looked and felt – it was fashionable and very cozy. I wore it almost every day and it kept me warm and kept the snow out when I was skiing. It was cool being able to all wear one to showcase our “tribeness."


All Photos Courtesy of Campbell McCrea

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