The bodybuilding community is in mourning following the passing of Wheelchair Bodybuilding Champion Chad McCrary on January 2, 2024, at the age of 49.
Chad’s journey, marked by triumphs and challenges, serves as an inspiration to many, and his impact on the world of bodybuilding will be remembered for years to come.
Early Years and Tragic Accident
Chad McCrary’s foray into bodybuilding began two years before a life-altering accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury.
In pursuit of a triple jump on a track in Plain Dealing, Louisiana, Chad’s dirt bike accident took a devastating toll, tearing and snapping his spinal cord.
A week in the intensive care unit and subsequent back surgery marked the beginning of Chad’s resilience.
Despite being initially unable to move or feel anything below his waist, Chad underwent a grueling 90 days of physical rehabilitation. Determined to regain his ability to walk, Chad spent the next three years pushing his limits, defying doctors’ predictions.
While primarily reliant on a wheelchair, Chad demonstrated his indomitable spirit by occasionally walking short distances.
From Paramedic to Wheelchair Bodybuilding
Chad’s life took an unexpected turn as he transitioned from a career as a paramedic and firefighter to pursuing a new path after the accident. Enrolling in courses to become an Army JAG paralegal, he remained devoted to bodybuilding.
Competing as a wheelchair bodybuilder for 11 years, Chad’s journey was marked by numerous victories, including the Heart of Texas Heavyweight competition in 2005 and the Lone Star State competition in 2006.
His commitment to overcoming adversity and defying limitations was evident in his competition history.
From the NPC Wheelchair Nationals to the IFBB Dallas Pro and the Wheelchair Olympia, Chad McCrary showcased his resilience on stage, proving that physical challenges could not diminish his passion for bodybuilding.
A Physical and Mental Transformation
Chad’s physical transformation was remarkable. From weighing 160 pounds with 15% body fat in 2000, he bulked up to 240 pounds with body fat ranging from 15% to 18% in 2003.
A persuasive friend led him to participate in a Plano, Texas bodybuilding competition, where he shed 45 pounds in 12 weeks, achieving 4% to 5% body fat. While the competition result was ninth place, it marked a turning point in Chad’s perspective on bodybuilding.
Leaving the competitive circuit, Chad briefly pursued motocross riding, a decision that ultimately led to the accident changing the trajectory of his life.
In the aftermath of the March 2005 incident, he embraced wheelchair bodybuilding to inspire others facing challenges similar to his own.
Championing Wheelchair Bodybuilding
Chad McCrary’s dedication to wheelchair bodybuilding went beyond personal victories. He modified his workout routine to accommodate his physical limitations, emphasizing lifting weights to gain the strength needed for competitions.
Despite facing his injuries, Chad aimed to encourage others to strive for their best in life, showing that self-imposed limitations should not hinder one’s potential.
As an IFBB PRO, motivational speaker, author of “Answering the Call,” and an official Mutant Athlete, Chad became a beacon of inspiration.
His story resonated with those who faced adversity, and he sought to be a role model for individuals dealing with life-altering injuries.
Legacy and Tributes
Chad Russell McCrary’s passing leaves a void in the bodybuilding community, but his legacy lives on through the lives he touched.
His obituary reflects a life well-lived, highlighting not only his achievements in bodybuilding but also his diverse pursuits, including becoming an IFBB PRO and obtaining an Aviation License.
Family and friends remember Chad as a bodybuilding champion, motivator, encourager, and source of strength.
His impact on the lives of those around him, including his role as a supportive brother and inspirational figure, speaks volumes about the person he was.
Celebration of Life
The Celebration of Life for Chad McCrary took place on January 19, 2024, at Bates Family Funeral Home in De Kalb, Texas. Open to the public, the event allowed friends, family, and fans to pay their respects and share memories of a man whose journey touched hearts globally.
Contest History and Achievements
Chad McCrary’s contest history paints a picture of determination and success in the face of adversity.
Victories such as the Heart of Texas Heavyweight and the Lone Star State competition underline his impact on wheelchair bodybuilding.
Chad’s achievements in both amateur and professional competitions, including his recent participation in the 2023 IFBB Dallas Pro, demonstrate the lasting legacy of a man who refused to be defined by his physical challenges.
Conclusion: A Lasting Impact
Chad McCrary’s journey from tragedy to triumph, from paramedic to wheelchair bodybuilding champion, leaves an indelible mark on the bodybuilding world.
His legacy extends beyond the stage, reminding us all that the human spirit can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In celebrating Chad’s life, we honor not only his victories and championships but also his resilience, motivation, and the inspiration he provided to countless individuals facing their challenges.
As the bodybuilding community reflects on the passing of this extraordinary individual, one thing is certain – Chad McCrary’s story will continue to motivate and uplift for years to come.