Schaefer Adaptive Methods was founded by Sam Schaefer, about a year after undergoing an elective amputation as the result of a 9 year fight with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
He first got into training after deciding to leave college for the military at age 19. With aims on a career in special operations through the United States Air Force, he knew he had to train hard, but also hadn’t ever trained before in the gym. In early 2010 he was pointed towards CrossFit and it has played a role in his life ever since.
“I knew right away that I wanted to coach CrossFit someday, I just planned to wait until after my military career. I grew up as the 2nd oldest of 12 kids, teaching has been a part of my life since I can remember” -Sam Schaefer
Unfortunately, Sam sustained an injury in training that led to his CRPS on September 6, 2011, less than 2 years into his enlistment.
After 15 months of different therapies and medications to try and control the condition in any capacity, nothing had helped and Sam was medically discharged. Feeling there was one chance left to try and fight the condition, he went back to his CrossFit gym to try and take control.
“I knew that it constantly hurt, even when I didn’t train. So what was going to happen if I did try one more time? More pain? That wasn’t scary, it was expected, not being able to do anything with my life was far scarier”
He also began coaching soon after, in 2013.
The deterioration of his CRPS led him to have to stop CrossFit in any traditional sense due to prolonged intensity becoming something that flared his pain level. This led Sam to try many approaches to training, including competing in Olympic Weightlifting and Highland Games. This variety has done a lot to shape Sam’s perspective on training. After enough time, he began to phase some of his less conventional ideas into his coaching and found success with many clients from many different backgrounds, including adaptive athletes. All of this has led to a very versatile and flexible approach to programming and finding the right answer for the athlete.
By 2020, the impact of the pain became too much and he sought out an amputation as a last resort. August 26th, 2020 he underwent his amputation and woke up without pain for the first time in 9 years.
It has been onward and upward ever since. In his first year as an amputee, he got back to training and has his eyes on some big goals, learned to ice skate for the first time in his life, got on a skateboard, is coaching full time again, and even set 2 Adaptive Highland Games World Records.Sam is extremely passionate about teaching and helping others, especially those walking the similar path of being an adaptive athlete.
“Knowing everything I’ve gotten from getting through the light at the end of the tunnel that was chronic pain, it just feels right that I work as hard as I can to help others see similar progress in their life.”