by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - A local man is using a traumatic injury that left him without a leg to inspire others to live healthier lives.
In this Family Focus, anchor Natalie Pasquarella found out how he's helping people drop their problems and pick up the weights.
Trainer Scott Sandusky helped Jeffrey Cooke through a workout the trainee never imagined he could tackle.
Cooke is a double amputee and on his first day at the CrossFit Crib in Kannapolis, he said simply showing up is a huge step toward better health.
"I think it's going to be more than I even dreamed of," Cooke said.
Since a train accident in the 1990s took both of his legs, Cooke said his health hasn't been the same and neither has his self-esteem.
"You get depressed, you start watching TV, you make people around you not want to be around you," Cooke said.
He became inspired to get off the couch when he heard how Sandusky, owner of CrossFit Crib, bounced back after losing his leg in a construction accident.
"When I dumped that load, the trailer shot out on an angle caught my leg and threw me back in against my truck," Sandusky said.
The father of four said his faith and family kept him alive while CrossFit helped him out of his depression.
"That was my antidepressant and when I began to see what it was doing for me you know you release endorphins when you exercise," Sandusky said. "It's chemically good for your body, so I began to say you know man, I think I can do this."
Sandusky hopes to help people gain confidence and strength and to give them a circle of support so they can leave their worries on the gym floor.
"I wanted to be able to use my accident and my recovery to be able to reach people like Jeffrey," Sandusky said.
"Until you meet another person that's similar, or doing things that you just dreamed that in the back of your mind, that's when you get motivated, you get out," Cooke said.
Sandusky met Cooke at an amputee support group.
Family Focus: Amputee motivates others with disabilities through CrossFit
Hickory to pay $3.5 million to man exonerated after 24 years in prison
Police: Nurse practitioner accused of prescription fraud in Mooresville
Family defends SC woman accused of putting 4-day-old son in refrigerator
Man robs Gastonia store with clerk's daughter outside