Windsor

Once-paralyzed Windsor man opens a gym after walking away from wheelchair

Eight years ago, Paul McCrary was told he would never walk again after a high school football game left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. On Sunday, with friends and family standing at his side, he opened his own gym

Paul McCray has opened a gym on Walker Road called Limitless Training Centre

Eight years ago, Paul McCrary was paralyzed from the waist down and told he wouldn't walk again. On Sunday he opened a new gym on Walker Road called Limitless Training Centre. (Meg Roberts/CBC News )

Eight years ago, Paul McCrary was told he would never walk again after a high school football game left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. On Sunday, with friends and family standing at his side, he opened his own gym.

"It's amazing, I can't even … the other day on the way here I just cried," an emotional McCrary said, standing inside the brand new Limitless Training Centre on Walker Road.

Wheelchair he once used hangs from the ceiling

He was 17 when the doctors told him he would never walk again. He remembers surgeons and medical specialists sitting in his hospital room discussing his prognosis, a good recovery would mean some mobility in his hands and nothing more.

As McCrary puts it, "it's been a long ride since then."

McCrary has always been passionate about fitness, before his injury and even after he took great joy in working out. He committed to rigorous rehabilitation and three years ago was able to take his first steps. Now he walks using just crutches.

The wheelchair he once used now hangs from the rafters in his new gym as a testament to his determination.

Following his love of fitness, McCary pursued a degree in human kinetics from the University of Windsor and worked as a trainer in the athletic department — a job he loved so much it inspired him to open his own gym.

"I almost can't believe where I am now … I just do what I know how to do and that is work hard and get better," he said. "That's how my whole life has been."

McCrary's incredible story has already started to attract clientele.

Losing the wheelchair is good but I really want to lose the crutches.- Paul McCrary

Larry McRae had a similar injury, he fell backwards off of a bench, broke his neck and was told he wasn't going to walk again, but with exercise help from McCrary he was walking in no time.

"Paul has been a real inspiration for me, his injury is worse than mine yet he has carried on, got himself up to the point that he can open this business today which is wonderful," he said at the grand opening.

McRae has been training with McCrary for the past few years and said he is excited to start working out at the new location on Walker Road.

McCrary added that along with helping others, he opened the gym with the hope of one day being able to fully focus on his own recovery.

"I plan on getting busy enough that I can switch back to my own therapy," he explained. "Losing the wheelchair is good but I really want to lose the crutches."

McCrary said the gym isn't the end of his journey, he is only getting started. As the name of his training centre suggests, his possibilities are limitless.