Bradley Betts is a professional athlete from Indianapolis, Indiana. He has won several amateur titles in wheelchair bodybuilding and took 3rd Place at the 2019 Dallas Europa Games after training professionally for only three years.
Betts was injured in the spring of 2009 when a violent storm hit his area with limited warning. As he scrambled to store his patio furniture in a backyard shed, the winds tore a nearby tree from the ground and smashed it through the side of the storage unit. Betts was struck from behind and his spinal cord severed. It is unlikely he would have survived had it not been for the red Craftsman toolbox which took part of the brunt and prevented the tree from crushing him entirely. So, while many would have felt cheated by the universe, Betts decided he’d been fortunate.
As he adjusted to life as a paraplegic, Betts realized he still wanted to express some of the athleticism which had always been part of his life before the accident. He began working out again and paying attention to his diet. He eventually narrowed his focus to bodybuilding because, he says, it was the only sport he knew of in which he could become a professional while using his chair. He began intensifying his workouts and paying particular attention to definition and form while continuing to moderate his diet to facilitate this new focus.
One day, a bodybuilding coach he ran into at his local fitness center suggested he enter an upcoming competition in West Pam Beach. It was just the nudge he needed. He was hooked.
Several years later and with multiple competitions under his belt, Betts still loves the training and the ability to shape his body as desired through working out and measured nutrition. He still loves the competitions themselves, amateur as well as professional, and credits them for the mindset they encourage, as well as the physical health.
Betts’s advice to others who may be seeking to develop themselves physically while coping with similar injuries is to push themselves out of the chair whenever possible. Get yourself onto the fitness machines; figure out a way to navigate the equipment. Don’t let fear or discomfort limit your efforts; be equally at home in the chair or out of it.
On March 30th, 2009 I was in my shed putting away patio furniture in my shed as a storm was coming. Before I knew it a tree (12 feet round) uprooted and smashed through my shed, striking me in the back, severing my spinal cord. Keeping me from being completely crushed was a red craftsman tool box that the tree landed on.
It took a year, but a bodybuilding coach at lifetime fitness persuaded me to enter nationals in West Palm Beach. Within 3 weeks of training and dieting I noticed big changes in my body and fell in love with the sport of bodybuilding.
Being an athlete before my accident, I have always been competitive and wheelchair bodybuilding was the only sport I knew of that you could become a professional in.
After dieting for 8 weeks I found out about nationals in West Palm Beach Florida and I immediately signed up for the contest.
My biggest motivation is past pictures. I love to see how far I e come and how much m body has transformed over a short and long period of time.
Don’t rely on your wheelchair especially when working out. By transferring in and out of your chair onto different machines will allow you to become more mobile in and out of a wheelchair.