Austrian pole vault record holder Kira Grunberg had been looking forward to competing at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 until a traumatic training accident on 30 July in Innsbruck saw her break vertebrae in her spine.

The accident has left the 2014 European Championships finalist, who had finished fourth at the 2015 European U23 Championships just three weeks before the accident, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic and her plight has led to messages of sympathy and support from around the world.

Visitors to the rehabilitation centre where she is based in Bad Haring have included world record holder Renaud Lavillenie.

However, since the accident, Grunberg’s cheerful and resilient response to her situation has also drawn global admiration.

The IAAF is happy to reproduce the first major interview she has conducted since the accident, by IAAF Press Commission member Olaf Brockmann for the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

Kira, how was your day in rehabilitation? How do you even have the energy for an interview?

Well, rehabilitation was exhausting today, but it always is. I usually have a nap at lunchtime, that helps me to recover a bit.

What does your rehabilitation focus on at the moment?

Lots of exercises to support my cardiovascular system. For instance, right now if I tried to get up directly in the morning, I might black out and become unconscious. I also do lots of physical therapy so my joints don’t become stiff, and strength training for my upper body.

What have been the most significant moments for you in rehabilitation so far?

It has been that I can now move my wheelchair by myself, just a little bit; that was a real boost to me. Once, I was also able to extend my legs on the physio bed, just for a few seconds, but that was cool. I had done something by myself!

Read the full interview at Source: Kira Grunberg fights adversity with a smile after pole vault accident |