A much loved Phoenix CrossFit coach who always “wanted to be a superhero” drowned alongside his father, after saving his wife from a rip current during a family trip to Puerto Rico.
Damian Walker, 33, traveled to the Caribbean island to spread his grandfather’s ashes in the ocean with members of his paternal family.
His wife, Salmeh and a few other family members were swept away in a rogue rip current, and Walker dove into the sea to save them.
“Damian jumped in, as he 100% lived his life with that hero mentality: ‘I’m just gonna go in and save them,’” Tiffany Divelbiss, his boss and co-owner of Wildfire CrossFit, told WSAZ News Channel.
Salmeh and the others were able to make it to land, but Walker was struggling to get back in.
His father, who also shared his son’s heroic spirit, swam out to save Damien, but neither of them came back to shore. Walker’s dad’s body was never recovered from the water.
“He would be proud of the way things happened. He always wanted to be a superhero, and in the end, that’s the way it ended up,” Wildfire co-owner Skip Divelbiss remarked.
Walker had been a coach at the Arizona CrossFit gym for 10 years, after signing up as a member and transitioning into a paid employee.
“He always just wanted people to succeed and be able to be their best and have fun with it, and that’s just the energy he always brought,” Skip added.
According to Walker’s mother, Dorthy Walker, he was the type of guy that would save any animal he came across, and “sometimes take them home with him.”
He and Salmeh, who she said he loved “with all that he had and more,” shared three dogs together.
Dorthy said that Damien was studying to be a doctor after earning his bachelor of exercise science degree.
“Damian had such a huge heart and a huge, positive impact on everyone there and anyone who Damian touched with his loving and caring heart,” she wrote in his obituary.
“He had a way of making every single person he met feel special,” the gym said in a statement announcing his death. “He would save every animal on the planet if he could.”
“He left this life the way he lived it,” they wrote about their fallen co-worker. “All in and sacrificing himself for someone else.”
Walker’s 34th birthday would have been on April 2nd, and WIldfire CrossFit will be holding a celebration of life the same day.
The gym has created a “hero workout” of all Walker’s favorite exercise moves, and members will complete the workout in Walker’s honor on his birthday.
They have also created a GoFundMe to help the family with funeral expenses. The page has raised just of $30,000 of a $35,000 goal.
What is Crossfit?
The CrossFit training regimen, created by Greg Glassman, consists of functional exercises that are frequently switched up and performed with a lot of vigor.
According to The Manual, exercises like lifting, squatting, leaping, and stretching are examples of functional motions. A CrossFit workout uses these typical motions for a workout by including heavier weights, faster moves, or longer distances.
The objective is to increase the overall power needed to perform these actions. They build muscle and strength. They improve flexibility. They boost stamina. CrossFit is simple to do and designed to be accessible to athletes of all skill levels.
Every day, a specific workout is performed with modifications for skill level. Everyone in “the box,” also known as the gym, follows the same exercise routine. Even young kids can enroll in programs to improve their endurance, balance, and strength.
Is Crossfit bad for you?
Any kind of exercise, including CrossFit, carries an inherent risk of injury.
One study concluded that CrossFit workouts are more dangerous than traditional weightlifting because of the intensity of the exercises, which can cause some people to “push themselves beyond their own physical fatigue limit and may ultimately lead to technical form breakdown, loss of control, and injury.”
A lengthy four-year study discovered that 30% of CrossFit members experienced an injury in the preceding year, but they also came to the conclusion that “CrossFit training is relatively safe compared with more traditional training modalities.”
According to the survey, the most typical injuries were to the shoulder, back, knee, elbow, and wrist. CrossFitters who worked out between three and five days a week were more likely to have injuries, prompting experts to advise against overworking one’s body.
What is Crossfit Training?
The goal of CrossFit is to increase total physical fitness and competence via a high-intensity, diversified training.
To improve a person’s general cardiovascular fitness, the exercises increase a person’s strength and power.
Plyometrics, weightlifting, gymnastics, and sprints are all combined in these brief yet intensive exercises to completely transform the human body.
At the heart of CrossFit are nine functional movements: The dead lift, sumo, clean, squat, front squat, overhead squat, press, push press, and jerk.
These movements are are performed in various combinations that change and evolve daily. A standard session of Crossfit training involves warming-up, developing strength or doing skill work, a WOD, and a cool-down period.
What is a CrossFit WOD?
WOD means “workout of the day,” and describes a stage in Cross-fit training achieves a goal that varies from session-to-session, which could be either lifting heavy, fast, or hitting max reps.
The movements in WODs genearlly challenge different skills or muscle groups. Examples of exercises include: Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, deadlifts, box jumps, and cardio like running, biking, or rowing.
What are CrossFit Hero WODs?
According to CrossFit, the “military, law enforcement and first responder communities were amongst the earliest proponents of CrossFit. Their intensity matched with the fitness CrossFit provides is a match made in heaven.”
Hero workouts are created when one of these everyday heroes makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. They are named after the fallen service member to honor and memorialize their brave acts.
The practice was adopted CrossFit-wide in 2008, and there are now 1075 hero WODs, which are typically harder than a standard CrossFit workout.
The most notable Hero WODs are the Murph, Kalsu, DT, 9/11 Tribute, Hotshots 19, and Chris Kyle.