• Monique Graham

Mon Meets: Nigel Barber

Hey, I'm Mon, I love CrossFit because of its variety and the community that comes with it. I am always interested to hear how people found CrossFit and how it has impacted their lives now. You might recognise Nigel from the coverage CrossFit HQ did during the Games https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hullvIf-cyc I was lucky enough to be able to interview Nigel to hear more about his story.


I asked Nigel if he could give me an insight into his injury.


Twenty-one years ago, I was full of excitement thinking about my future as I started my first proper job after leaving school as an Electrician’s Apprentice. Doing everything I could ensuring that I was constantly learning and having fun. My life changed forever one day in February when a sliding door came off its tracks fell onto me and broke my neck. All that was going through my mind was “I cannot move my legs,” “Oh God, oh God what else has gone?”


After spending 2 weeks in Bristol Hospital undergoing surgery and having lots of tests to determine the extent of the injuries. I found out that I had sustained a spinal injury at C5/6.


The long road to recovery began…


My 12-month journey began at a specialist spinal unit for rehabilitation. I experienced my fair share of ‘low days’ and struggled to connect with the professionals as they were unable to understand the devastating impact the injury was having on me. It felt like a constant battle trying to express my emotions and frustrations.


Luckily, I found that the other patients helped me with my low days as we were all going through a journey together. Before I knew it, I was being discharged home to begin rebuilding my life. I was living in my parents dining room which was a very tricky for me and I found myself just staying in bed for ease. This led me to getting depressed as I did not have the freedom I wanted and no one really understood my distress. 


After Months after leaving the hospital and being at home it became more apparent that the transport system in Devon wasn’t suitable for wheelchairs and living on a hill didn’t help either. Eventually I managed to get an adapted car which gave me some freedom outside of the house. Having carers helped bring a bit of ‘sparkle‘ back into my new world, but something was missing…a career… a purpose to move forward.


As a child I played a few sports, however cricket was my main one. I was one day taken to a local gym by my carers and it was from there that my PT James told me that I should give CrossFit a go. I have now been doing CrossFit for 3 years. CrossFit Pi is where all the magic happens, the coaches are really friendly and the member are there to support you no matter what.

All of my individual programming is done by Coach Martin which is constantly finding new ways for me to adapt movements. The biggest challenge I have faced through the movements in CrossFit is trying to get a decent weight Snatch. 


I took part in my first competition in 2019 it was scary to begin with but got into a groove fairly quickly. Martin’s words from my first comp were “Nigel stepped out his comfort zone to compete in his first CrossFit competition! This man has more drive, determination and positivity than most and completed everything that was thrown at him with ease, dealing expertly well with any last-minute variations in movement that would have left most competitive CrossFitters kicking and screaming.” 


It was amazing to be able to hear Nigel’s story and gain an insight into how his CrossFit journey started and where he is now. Keep inspiring people Nigel because you are an incredible role model.

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