Chapter 126 Sports and Fitness

May 19, 2015

Read about the incredible Harry Mckinstry!
Meet Harry, Chapter 126’s Member of the Month

Harry is a life long resident of Bristol, CT and has been playing sports since he was born. He grew up playing football, baseball, wrestling, rock climbing, and skiing. He was even the Captain of the 1984 wrestling team at Bristol Central High school. As soon as he graduated high school he signed up for the Navy and spent three years serving in San Diego California.

After finishing his service with the Navy, Harry returned to Bristol, Connecticut and continued his career working as a welder and steelworker. Then on April 11, 1990, when he was just 24 years old, Harry was working with his boss to unload steal beams. The next thing he knew he was hit in the head by a two ton beam and then pinned underneath another one. The rest was history. He spent the next three months on life support in a coma with a severe brain injury. As he started to come out of the coma he learned he wasn’t able to talk or move anything from the neck down. However, he knew he could get better. Harry worked hard and after three years of work at a variety of rehabilitation facilities he was able to finally return home.

After his injury Harry was forced to take a new look at his life. He knew he wanted to be active and play sports but he didn’t know what he would be able to do or how he would be able to do it. A few years later he joined the Connecticut Chargers, an indoor wheelchair soccer team and has been playing with them for the past 14 years. He loved being back on a team, getting to travel and competing against other teams. However he has always been looking to do more. He hated how much time he was spending on the computer or watching TV. Then one day he saw a news report on Chapter 126 and couldn’t believe it was coming to his hometown. He joined Chapter 126 in December and has been working out regularly ever since. Today Harry has regained his speech and significant function throughout his lower and upper body. He even has been able to train and compete in his first competitive road race and took first place in the men’s wheelchair division at the Cheshire 5K.

We are inspired by Harry every time he comes in to Chapter 126 and we asked if he could share a few details about his workout routine:

Q:How do you find/ make time to get your workouts in?
Harry: I just make it a priority. Getting stronger and making moving through daily life easier is my number one goal. Without working out I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my goals. Now its part of my routine: eat, sleep and workout and the I just fit all the rest of the stuff I need to do everyday around that.

Q: What tips would you offer to someone who is just starting to workout?
Harry: I hate to give advice because I don’t think I am doing anything special. I just say to myself, “Just keep going” and that has helped me. I think if everyday if you just keep going, set new goals and keep going you will love how you start to feel and then you will want to “keep going.”

Q: What is your current workout routine like?
Harry: I like to change things up and do a variety of things. I lift weights, work on balance, and do lots of cardio. I also play soccer, train for road races and bowl. My workouts involve lots of hanging out too. I keep it fun that way its not all work.

Q: How has working out at Chapter 126 helped you on your fitness journey?
Harry: Chapter 126 really got me moving again. I would still be sitting in front of the computer if it wasn’t for Chapter 126. They met with me one-on-one and listened to my goals and are really helping me get stronger.

Q: What changes have you noticed since working out at Chapter 126?
Harry: I feel happier and I am stronger. I have lost 20 pounds, made friends and get out of the house a lot more.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Chapter 126?
Harry: I like all the equipment but I really like the staff and members. Everyone is great and really help to keep me motivated. My life has changed a lot in just a few months. They even helped get me connected to the Connecticut Chapter of Achilles and I have been training to run (well, push backwards in my wheelchair) and I completed my first 5k road race. I am now training to do a 1/2 marathon and my ultimate goal is to do a  full marathon by next year.  I just feel so much more connected since joining Chapter 126.