In this unique sports hall in France, children with disabilities push their limits
David Guedin has been a physiotherapist for 24 years. In 2018, he produced a research dissertation with the aim of showing the benefits of high-intensity bodybuilding in young people with motor disabilities. “My work received the first prize from the Order of Physiotherapists in the senior category”the 47-year-old proudly tells us.
The professional then completed several training courses to become a CrossFit coach, this discipline which mainly combines gymnastics, endurance and cardio. In September 2021, he opened the first French CrossFit room welcoming children with motor disabilities. Called « CrossFit Metamorphosis », it is located in Dijon (Côte-d’Or), within the Sensory and Motor Device (DSM) of the PEP CBFC association (Pupille d’Enseignement Public Center Bourgogne-Franche-Comté).
Varied and adapted exercises
Every Monday, David Guedin accompanies around fifteen young people aged 7 to 20. “They are usually divided into groups of five, depending on their age”, he explains. Supported by two students, the coach first presents the session of the day then launches a playful warm-up of five to ten minutes. “Then we go through the exercises, the intensity increases and the children start to sweat a lot. » A CrossFit session lasts one hour.
Rower, rope climb, burpees, obstacle passage, push-ups… The exercises offered are varied and above all adapted to the different types of motor disability present: amputations, hemiplegia, diplegia, quadriplegia or even neuromuscular diseases. “I am very careful to change the program often so that the young people do not feel tired. This allows them to continue to stimulate their muscles while avoiding a routine”assures the physiotherapist.
They improve their cardio and mobility
According to David Guedin, the practice of CrossFit is an effective solution to improve the quality of life of children with disabilities. “In December 2021, the Haute Autorité de Santé recognized that muscle building should be a priority for these young people. Thanks to the adaptive sessions, they work on their mobility and improve their cardio, their flexibility…”
Children also gain functional independence. “Sports activity improves their walking distanceexplains the professional. The improvement of their physical capacity also makes it possible to relieve certain acts of daily life such as transfers to the toilet for example. » David Guedin also wants to push children out of their comfort zone. “It’s very important because they gain self-esteem and are proud of themselves after completing the exercises. »
“The young people are always at the bottom”
Almost a year after the opening of « CrossFit Metamorphosis », the results are positive. “The young people are always fully, always motivated. A mother told me that every Monday, her son was delighted to go to school because he knew he was going to sports next., rejoices the coach. Young people appreciate the fact of being in a group and not having to do their rehabilitation alone. Parents have also noticed an evolution in their children. “They are more and more independent and even have better school results. Sport makes life easier for families and carers. »
Eventually, David Guedin would like these children to push the door of a classic CrossFit room, indicates France 3 Burgundy-Franche-Comte who participated in one of its sessions. He also wants all French rehabilitation centers to offer sessions adapted to young people with disabilities. “It would be both less boring for the professional and for the child. », he tells us. From September 2022, the physio will offer adaptive sessions on Mondays but also on Wednesdays.