Meet Russell + House of Champions

October 18, 2023
Meet Russell + House of Champions


October 18, 2023

If you haven’t met Russell Allmandinger, it's probably because you haven’t been in a class or at the gym at the same time. Russell, has been an active member in our community since May 2022 and will befriend and lift up anyone with whom he comes in contact. Today I would like to take the opportunity to tell you not just his story, but also about the House of Champions Foundation which he founded to help inspire the amputee and disabled communities discover their inner champion. If you are inspired by his story and mission, please consider making a donation to the House of Champions Foundation to help Russell and other adaptive athletes reach their dream of competing at the highest level.

Russell’s story is that of inspiration. Born in 1985, Russell faced extraordinary adversity from day one. He was born with one of the most severe cases of bilateral club feet, requiring his first surgery at just three days old. The surgeries to fix his legs continued until he was three years old, and he had to wear braces on his legs until he was seven. Yet, this early physical challenge didn't hold Russell back from leading an active lifestyle. Baseball, basketball, football, and powerlifting became his arenas, where he learned the value of hard work and the will to push through pain.

When Russell was 15, his mother was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer. This event shifted his role in the family as he took on the responsibilities of a caregiver for his younger brother and ailing mother for the next six years. When he was on the verge of turning 21, his mother passed away. These experiences imbued in Russell a profound understanding of the meaning of resilience and overcoming adversity.

In his life so far, Russell has undergone over 30 surgeries and been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, neuropathy, degenerative disc disorder, and spinal stenosis. In 2015, he made the brave decision to amputate his left club foot. The following seven years, encompassing 15 surgeries including the amputation, brought him face to face with extreme burnout. This burnout, coupled with the intense pain and distress, led him to medications for the first time in his life.

During the Covid pandemic, Russell faced the most challenging two years of his life. He was prescribed seven different types of medications, including some of the strongest pain medications in existence. All of this combined to plunge him into severe depression and increased anxiety, pushing him to the edge of suicide. This was the darkest period in Russell's life. But In 2021, Russell decided to break free from the shackles of medication and embrace a new path to healing: CrossFit. Returning to his roots of grinding and working hard, he discovered a new sense of purpose and began rebuilding his life.

Presently, Russell is a competitive CrossFit athlete, who has recently qualified for 2 of the most sought after competitions for adaptive athletes: the Adaptive CrossFit World Championship, WheelWod, and another big stage CrossFit Competition, Wodapalooza. Able-bodied and adaptive athletes get to compete on one of the largest stages in the CrossFit world. Russell’s goal is to be able to travel to these competitions and compete, not for himself, but to inspire those who have similar stories and obstacles to overcome. 

In addition to his athletic pursuits, Russell has also founded the House of Champions Foundation (HOCF). The HOCF's mission is to serve the amputee and disabled communities, inspiring them to discover their inner champion - physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. The HOCF is committed to offering scholarships, to athletes like him, that will support them in their athletic endeavors. As an adaptive athlete with ongoing medical expenses, much of their financial resources go to everyday living expenses and there is little flexibility to afford the costs of registration fees, travel expenses, and additional costs for attending these competitions. If you are interested in supporting Russell and his cause to help adaptive athletes have the opportunity to compete in these once in a lifetime events, please check out and if you are interested in donating please visit HOCF Donation page.

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