October 29, 2018, Navy SEAL Chad Wilkinson took his life. While approaching his 21st year of active duty and experiencing multiple combat deployments, his body and his mind had taken too much. Following his death, his family donated his brain to science and would later learn he suffered from interface astroglial scarring. This scarring is similar to the more readily heard chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or punch drunk. However, interface astroglial scarring is specific to our veterans in that it doesn’t necessarily occur with physical contact or trauma but rather, blast waves they are exposed to in both training and combat. This scarring is making its way into our military due to excessive exposure to blast wave injury experienced in both training and combat.
An aspiring mountaineer and following his death the world took to Chad’s workout, 1,000 box step-ups with a 45 lb pack to train for such climbing expeditions which is now known as CHAD1000X. This workout has grown to be a testament to the struggles our military faces with PTSD, TBI, and blast wave injury. As Chad often said, “Uncomfortable can’t last forever”. This annual Veterans Day workout now serves as a trademarked platform for fellow Americans to honor our veterans and their invisible wounds. We stand beside them in support, we honor their struggle and will fight for their comfort as they have for us.
Step Up Foundation was born.
While Chad is not an official CrossFit.com hero, on December 14, 2018, CrossFit Games Director, Dave Castro @thedavecastro posted this workout in memory of his friend Wilkinson. Castro said,
“A few weeks ago we lost an American hero. A friend of mine and someone I worked with when I was in the Navy. At his funeral, his wife mentioned that he did 1,000 step-ups for time with a 45-pound pack on a 20” box to train for climbing Mt Aconcagua. Tonight I did this workout with @jameshobart @apbozman and @jimi.letchford. We did it as a celebration of his life and to honor his memory. If you are looking for something to do this weekend give this one a go and keep Chad in mind.”
This sparked the online community of Crossfit and spread like wildfire. And it’s only growing. To learn more about Chad Wilkinson and your way to help support Veteran suicide please visit CHAD1000X
Not much strategy, just find your mental grit. In class, yell to your coach every 100 step-ups to help with counting. Grab a partner, friend, significant other, neighbor, or whoever you choose to do this with you. You can tackle this one as a team and split it up as you see fit. Scaling options will be posted at the box. There is no quitting…just resting and then moving on.
Your class may run late 😉
For showing up
You will be stronger, mentally tougher, and will have honored a veteran who served to protect your freedom. Thank you to all of you who show up!