Weight lifters with disabilities breaking barriers in Georgia

“I like to show people what they can do as opposed to what they can’t do.”
Breaking barriers through strength training
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:28 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -An update on a young Georgia weightlifter. When Atlanta News First Reporter Sawyer Buccy first introduced us all to him, he was headed off to an international competition in Europe. Not only was he triumphant, but his success is also proving to be contagious!

The belief in this room at Roswell Barbell is that anyone can lift.

“We are in meet prep because we are competing on Memorial Day weekend in Chicago,” said Coach Josh Porter, Founder of Big Dog Barbell.

“The most empowering thing in life is strength,” said Cary Callahan, Owner of Roswell Barbell.

Once a week Josh Porter trains a group of students with physical disabilities.

“He is awesome. He lets the kids train for free here,” said Josh.

“He told me about what I do and, ‘I said bring them over! Bring the over! Anybody can lift,’” said Cary.

Every week, the team has become stronger and stronger.

“Harper could not stand up out of a chair unassisted. Harper is now deadlifting over 150 pounds,” said Cary.

“Strength training is especially important for people with intellectual disabilities, their obesity rates are higher than...the national average,” said Josh.

The last time we met Coach Porter and one of his students Dave, Dave qualified for a world championship competition in England, and they were fundraising.

“He won the World Championships competing against other 18 and 19 years old’s. This was not Special Olympics. He set world records in all his lifts,” said Josh.

Josh knew the other kids he trains will have opportunities as Dave did, and he didn’t want their families to have to worry about money when giving a hard-earned experience to their kids.

”The more and more we can get, the more I can spend on them,” said Josh.

Big Dog Barbell is now an official 501c3.

The whole point of the non-profit is to make sure the team has as many open doors in the world as possible, to make sure their paths are always lined with possibility.

”They are just really amazing humans,” said Josh.