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Premier Member Highlight – Sarah Kelly

Premier Member Highlight – Sarah Kelly

by Tonya Little | date January 28, 2020

Premier Member Highlight – Sarah Kelly

– Michelle Norfolk, AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Sarah Kelly comes to Premier to workout, like anyone looking to improve their strength and fitness. What she doesn’t know is that, in doing so, she gives strength and inspiration to so many.

In July 2017, 27-year-old Sarah was driving home from Thomasville, GA around 10pm. It was raining heavily.  Sarah’s car hit a patch of water and began to hydroplane. She overcorrected the wheel, causing her vehicle to veer off the road and plunge into a ditch.

Sarah suffered a concussion, broke vertebrae in her back, fractured two vertebrae in her neck, multiple broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and severe spinal compression. The accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. Given the severity of her injuries, doctors told her she may never stand again.

But rather than take that as the final word, Sarah turned to her inner strength and her faith. She says that she was determined to follow whatever path was meant for her. But she also recognized that she had to put in the work.

While out with her parents one day, Sarah ran into her neighbor Robin Dye, who is a personal trainer. When Robin learned about Sarah’s situation and how intent she was on taking charge of her recovery, Robin asked if she could be a part of Sarah’s team.  Sarah was already going to physical therapy two to three times per week, but Robin felt that Sarah could benefit from strength training.

Sarah and Robin began training together at Premier in 2018.  She had Sarah start on the mat, using her body weight for resistance. After Sarah gained back some of her strength, they moved on to the Nu step and Ski Erg, focusing on strengthening her upper body and core. “I discovered that the core is everything!” says Sarah. “You can’t do much without a strong core.”

With her core strength improving, Sarah began incorporating free weights and the body bar (a weighted bar that helps with balance and strength) into her routine. These days you can find her all over the gym – on the crunch machine, pulling cables, battle ropes. Robin mixes up Sarah’s workout as much as she can to keep her constantly improving. “Cardio is important to someone who sits all the time,” says Sarah. “So we try to incorporate it whenever possible.”

Another important aspect of Sarah’s journey has been visualization. She says she visualizes herself performing certain tasks and imagines how it might feel.

It’s clear that Sarah is a smart, strong young woman who is determined to carve her own path through will power, a strong mind, and persistence. In September 2019, Sarah began doing the leg press machine with a portable electrical muscle stimulator. And in February this year, Sarah walked on her own using a walker and knee blocks.

As of today, Sarah is now working on the recumbent bike and has worked her distance up to .83 miles.

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