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Gaylord Hospital’s adaptive workout class bridges gap ‘from rehabilitation to real life’

By Lori Riley
Hartford Courant
SEP 26, 2021 

CHESHIRE — A CrossFit competition wasn’t on Jillian Harpin’s radar five years ago. Harpin hiked but was not someone who went to the gym at all.

But when Harpin, of Wethersfield, became paralyzed after losing her balance and falling three stories off a balcony on vacation in Mexico, she knew she had to keep up her strength in order to get around with her wheelchair.

So when she heard about a high-intensity exercise class called EX4L, or Exercise 4 Life, started by Gaylord Hospital physical therapists Kim Levesque and Philip Severio two years ago, she signed up.

This spring, Harpin, 29, who is paralyzed from the waist down, competed in a national CrossFit competition, which offered an adaptive version for the first time.