SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A nationally ranked arm wrestler is taking on a new role in Springfield.

Chris Sciarappa is a national arm-wrestling champion. He was an avid baseball player for most of his life, but when that chapter closed, a friend of his brought him into the realm of arm wrestling.

He lost his first two matches and decided he never wanted to lose again, so he doubled his training and it paid off, but he wouldn't have been able to even participate in the sport if it wasn't for a specific substance.

“Maybe three months later, I won my first tournament and it just took off from there. So, you know, competing all up and down the east coast, out in California, Nevada, Indiana I had a tournament at, I think, two years ago and then started competing at the national level and finished second right handed and third left handed,” Sciarappa said.

Now Sciarappa’s taking on a holistic role, becoming the general manager of Cannabis Shop Liberty in Springfield. His new position was inspired by his chronic illness.

Sciarappa told Western Mass News he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was in high school and found cannabis to be the only real way to alleviate the pain.

“They were trying all experimental medicines out on me, so they were giving me things they would give leukemia patients, just trying to slow my immune system down. Everything that they gave me made me feel awful,” Sciarappa explained.

That was until a friend of his introduced him to cannabis and CBD.

“…And I just found that out of everything that they were giving me that seemed to be helping me the most…that lead me into the whole arm wrestling thing because if it wasn’t for that, I never would have been able to do it,” Sciarappa noted.

Now he’s hoping to have a hand in others discovering similar benefits.

“One of the good things about being a professional athlete and working here is to help with the stigma…This is for everybody. This isn’t just for a select few people. No matter what you do, you can really find benefit coming here,” Sciarappa added.

As for his arm-wrestling career, it’s not over yet. Next up is the world championship in June.

“I'm not gonna stop until I'm the world champion. That's the goal,” Sciarappa said.

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