Speaker Mattiello participates in grand opening ribbon cutting of RI’s first ‘adaptive gym’ in Cranston
STATE HOUSE – Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) participated in a grand opening ribbon cutting event for Rhode Island’s first and only adaptive gym within a traditional fitness facility today at the Park Avenue YMCA in Cranston.
The gym was established by the Gary Balletto Foundation in partnership with the Cranston YMCA.
In 2013, after retiring from a 10-year career as a professional boxer, Gary “Tiger” Balletto was injured in his backyard while training for American Ninja Warrior. Paralyzed from the chest-down, he spent the next 18 months rehabilitating, and adapting to his new reality. It is during this time that Gary realized there was a significant unmet need for gym facilities for people like him with spinal cord injuries.
“Gary has been a true inspiration for a long time to not only the people of Cranston, but the entire state as a whole. His determination and always positive spirit demonstrates what is possible in the face of adversity and I could not be any prouder to call him a friend. I have no doubt that this gym will serve its use well and that Gary will continue to be an inspiration for many more future years to come,” said Speaker Mattiello.
The adaptive gym is situated within the YMCA’s main exercise space, where dedicated, specially-trained staff are available to assist clients so they can safely and effectively use the equipment. This setup is intentional - it is rare for people with spinal cord injuries, and other types of paralysis, to have affordable access to gym equipment which they can use, and even more unusual to find it within an able-bodied gym. This allows people of all abilities to be surrounded by friends, family and peers, in a context where all can interact, assist, and enjoy working out together.
From the left: Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Christina Cho, girlfriend of Gary Balletto, Gary Balletto, and Steven G. O’Donnell, CEO of the Greater Providence YMCA
For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 331A
Providence, RI 02903