Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Mary Smith PhD, MS, OTR/L, RYT

Second Advisor

Christopher Ebner MS, OTR/L

Medical Subject Headings

Weight Lifting, Sports for Persons with Disabilities, Physical Conditioning, Human, Program Development, Occupational Therapy, Adult, Humans


Background: A quarter of adults are diagnosed with a disability in the United States, with almost half considered being inactive (CDC, 2020). The population of persons with disabilities (PWD) are at higher risk for secondary health concerns due to a sedentary lifestyle (Diaz et al., 2019). CrossFit recently implemented their first adaptive division in 2021 (CrossFit, LLC, 2022), however there continue to be barriers preventing PWD from participating in CrossFit.

Problem/Purpose: PWD may experience limited access to CrossFit due to structural and social barriers to access equipment and participating in movements. The purpose of this project was to develop a program that improves access to desired exercises and equipment in CrossFit for PWD. Occupational therapists (OT) have a role in adapted sports; however, participation in leisure is not always a focus. The person- environment-occupation-performance (PEOP) model was used to create a program that considered personal factors within the context of environment to enhance occupational participation for PWD.

Methods: This project assessed the CrossFit environment, needs of the coaches, and analysis of CrossFit movements. Feedback on the effectiveness of the program was provided by the Adapted Training Foundation and through observations with coaches and adaptive athletes.

Results: A comprehensive adapted CrossFit program was developed that included a synopsis of each qualifying disability and acquired injuries, injury prevention, an adaptive equipment resource, and a coaching resource for onboarding use. Further implementation is needed to understand program satisfaction and ability to improve access to participation for PWD in CrossFit.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.