Kevin Ogar, the CrossFit trainer who suffered a severed spine injury in January 2014, is doing well and is moved by the support he has received from around the world, he told NBC News.
Ogar, 28, is now paralyzed from the waist down after undergoing two spinal surgeries. He was shocked to discover that while he was hospitalized, CrossFit enthusiasts from around the world donated $500,000 to help pay for his mounting medical bills.
The donations came from complete strangers in Germany, Latin America, Spain, Japan, the United States and Australia.
"I had so many kind words sent to me," said Kevin. "They really make a difference in the day-to-day struggle of staying positive. It's still something I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around — that there are that many people out there so giving and caring for someone they don't know."
Ogar, once a top-level CrossFit athlete, was performing a routine powerlift at a CrossFit competition in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Jan. 12 when he abruptly lost his balance and fell backward.
The massive weights fell onto the floor, bounced against another set of weights, and hit Ogar in the back, severing his spine. The once-athletic 6-foot-1, 210-pound Kevin has undergone two surgeries, and had screws and rods implanted in his back. He now undergoes six to seven hours a day of physical therapy.
At the time he was injured, Kevin had been training to compete at the 2014 CrossFit Games, which reigning champ Rich Froning has won for the past three years. Ogar is aware he may never walk again, but said he doesn't spend too much time thinking about that, preferring to focus on day-to-day progress.
"Would I like it to happen? Yeah," said Kevin. "I would love to be able to walk a little bit on my own again, but my legs are not what defined me as a person, so if I never get any sensation back or walk again, it's not going to change who am or what I can do for others."