A Story of Perseverance

My Y Story: Justin Deflumeri


Justin Deflumeri has always been physically fit and loves playing sports, especially baseball.  He’s an avid marathon runner and is currently training for an ultra-marathon, is a jujitsu champion, and was close to signing on to go professional in boxing.

All that took a detour in 2017 when he was getting headaches. “My doctors thought I was getting a brain bleed and did a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to see what was going on. This procedure is the only way for doctors to test for blood around the brain. Unfortunately, after the procedure there was a leak which caused brain and spinal fluid to leak out, leaving me in exacerbating pain. The worst headache pain in my life, I couldn’t stand up. I had to lay flat for three months, not knowing when I would walk again,” Justin said.

He had a very slow recovery. It was a huge milestone when he was able to be upright for three to four hours.

“As soon as I was well enough to work out, I started with water therapy – water aerobics. – at the Y. I was the youngest one in the class!  I was the youngest one in the class and they were easy on me! I started swimming because that was the best low-impact exercise for a back injury. Then I started walking on the treadmill on 2.0, and moved to pushing myself and increasing to a 4 and 5 level. I did Zumba for a bit – low impact. I wanted to be around people and being in Iraida’s (YMCA group exercise instructor Iraida Munoz) class was great. I love her. I was in class with her for six months. The entire Zumba community was so welcoming. Then I moved to hitting the heavy bag and seeing how my body responded. I couldn’t kick at first, but eventually worked up to that” he said.

It wasn’t until 2020 that Justin says he was back on his feet and playing sports again. “Fast forward to today and my body is feeling good,” he said.

Justin’s Y connections started long before he rehabbed at the Y.

Justin Deflumeri

“I started working for Josh (Josh Schupack, former YMCA Youth Director) when I graduated from college in 2011. Josh and I ran a t-ball program on the field at Camp Sargent. It grew to 70 kids!  I fell in love with it. I was always great with kids and Josh was such a great influence. I even took violin lessons from Josh!,” he said. “The Y staff are so welcoming, nice and it’s a great family atmosphere. I especially saw this when I went through my health challenge. I value the partnership between staff and members.”

Justin worked with Andy MacEachern at the Westwood Park YMCA to bring back the t-ball program that Justin worked in nearly a decade ago. As the dad of a 3-and-a-half year old daughter, Justin was eager to introduce her to baseball. His first thought was starting a parent and child t-ball class at the Y for youth ages 3 to 5. “A lot of towns don’t start t-ball until kids are age 4 or 5, so I knew there would be interest in this program. Andy was very receptive to the idea. We just finished up the session and will be running t-ball again in the fall.”

Justin takes his baseball seriously. He enlisted the help of his friend to be the umpire for the t-ball games. “The kids were all about having an umpire!,” he said. To amplify each child’s experience and encourage them to practice, he bought each player their own bat and ball to take home. The summer pause is because Justin plays baseball in a men’s age 28+ league, which includes an ex-Red Sox pitcher and champion Manny Delcarmen. Justin is also a pitcher in this Greater Boston league.Justin Deflumeri

He has loved being able to further bond with his daughter over baseball. “Each night before she goes to bed, I have to send her ten pitches. It’s the best thing I ever did in my life. It’s awesome!” he said. “I always knew I wanted a kid one day. When I was lying in bed during my rehab, I knew I was going to be the best coach when the time came. I’m so happy to have a daughter and share these memories with her.”

Justin does this around his full-time career as CEO of Optimal Safety Inspections, a company he founded providing workplace safety consulting services. He was recently awarded Keene State College’s Alumni Inspiration Award, which made him the first person in history to win the Alumni award, rising star of safety award, and safety professional of the year award.  Among the accomplishments noted in his recognition was his volunteer work with the Big Brothers program of New Hampshire, a mentorship program he launched for Keene State safety students, and his work revitalizing an abandoned baseball field in Westgate Village in Nahua, repurposing it for community use.

Justin has risen quickly to the top of the amateur ranks in the endurance sports world. He has finished top ten in many triathlons, 5ks, 10ks, has a second place finish in a half marathon, an finished a few marathons. He does his training at the YMCA.

Justin, the Y is so happy you have returned to the Y in a teaching role and are sharing your love of baseball with the next generation. We are also so pleased that we were part of your successful rehabilitation story!

Justin DeflumeriJustin DeflumeriJustin Deflumeri

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