Standing on your own one foot

Most of us take it for granted that we have two legs to reliably carry us wherever we want to go. But life can quickly be turned on its head, for example after an accident, and you have to learn how to live again. Sanitas customers can support PluSport’s fund for medical aids and prostheses – by being physically active themselves.

Author: Simone Liedtke; photos: Sebastian Doerk

We all want to live an active and fulfilled life. The PluSport fund for medical aids and prostheses helps people with a physical disability to be active and achieve their sporting ambitions. This fund helps people with disabilities take part in sporting activities by co-financing sports prostheses. We asked three people about their story and how they have benefited from PluSport’s fund for medical aids and prostheses.


Christoph is 31 years old and has a thirst for knowledge. He loves nature, animals and working outdoors. Initially, Christoph didn’t know what he wanted to do in life − the world offered so many possibilities. He initially studied forest management, then spent some time looking for work. After that, he did an apprenticeship as a roofer before returning to his original profession. He has always loved exercise and sport and has tried his hand at a range of activities, taking in everything from skiing, snowboarding and gymnastics to athletics, golf, archery and climbing.

Tragedy struck on 12 May 2020 when he lost a leg in an accident working in the forest. The world suddenly seemed very small to Christoph, and the opportunities limited. “To process the trauma and work out what I wanted to do in these new life circumstances, I underwent interpersonal therapy,” says Christoph. At the rehabilitation clinic in Bellikon, I came upon the idea of studying exercise and health promotion, with the aim of using my own experiences to help other patients during their rehabilitation.” During his time at the clinic, Christoph played a lot of wheelchair sports with the other patients, such as basketball and floorball. “It was great fun, and it helped me really enjoy life again,” he recalls. “The more sport I do, the happier I am in daily life.”

Since getting the replacement joint and sports prosthesis, Christoph has started climbing again, cycles every day, goes bowling and plays crazy golf, golf and tennis, tries his hand at archery and does athletics. Christoph is delighted with his progress. “I’d like to live as normal a life as possible, and I usually manage it.” He also has big sporting ambitions: “I want to push myself to my physical limit again and achieve top performances,” he says, looking forward to the Paralympics in 2028.


Ann-Christin is 31 and worked as a biolab assistant. She loved her job and she loved riding her motorbike. In 2018, Ann-Christin lost her right leg in a head-on collision on her motorbike. She survived thanks to the person riding with her. However, she was unable to continue with her job, because it involved too much physical activity. Ann-Christin is currently studying medical engineering, which was the next logical step for her: “I can draw on my own experiences when designing prostheses. As a user I’m familiar with any weak points and problem areas.”

At first she wanted to get back on a motorbike. “The first thing I did during my rehabilitation was to pick out the latest motorbike. I wanted to carry on as normal. It was only after rehab that I realised how the accident would affect my everyday life now and forever. And that’s when the trauma really kicked in,” she says. After the rehabilitation, Ann-Christin experienced a post-traumatic stress disorder. She suffered panic attacks when she saw a motorbike or heard the sound of a bike’s engine. She now has the attacks under control thanks to trauma therapy. She feels good.

But she has decided never to ride a motorbike again. Ann-Christin would like to have a sports prosthesis to regain the feeling of freedom she had while riding a motorbike. “The feeling of just running, the power that’s released, it’s like I’m a cheetah, it's insane,” says an enthusiastic Ann-Christin, who loves the freedom and power she feels when sprinting with the carbon bracket. Ann-Christin’s story already has a happy ending, because she met her now-fiancé during her rehabilitation. They plan to travel to the northern hemisphere to see the northern lights.


Sophie is 11 and is in year 5 at school. When asked whether she’s good at sport at school, she’s quick to answer “yes”. In fact, she’s one of the best. Sophie started playing tennis when she was four. She skis, swims, cycles and loves athletics. Sophie has friends and has a close relationship with her twin sister. She lives a normal, happy and active live.

The only difference is that she was born with dysmelia on her right leg. This means that she doesn’t have a lower right leg. But that doesn’t stop her doing what she loves. Sophie has sporting ambitions. She takes part in competitions and regularly receives standing ovations, even when she crosses the finish line last in a 1,000-metre race. This summer Sophie is due to compete in the German junior paralympic championships.

Thanks to the donation of Elena Kratter’s carbon spring, which the Swiss athlete used to win bronze in the long jump at the Paralympics in Tokyo, Sophie has been able to significantly increase her jumping distance and improve her performance in the 60-metre sprint by as much as a second. “I love sport and I feel good when I’m moving,” says Sophie. “I can run with my normal prosthesis, but it’s much easier and I can run much faster with the sports prosthesis.”

The new sports prosthesis, which was partially funded by PluSport, should help the budding athlete reach her full potential. Sophie is also on the PluSport team that meets once a month for training in Switzerland. But Sophie has ambitions beyond the world of sport: “I want to have a healthy family and a good job.” She wants to be a vet. But she’s not yet sure how many children she wants.

Long-term value of donations to PluSport

These are just three of many stories made possible through the targeted use of financial resources by PluSport, the umbrella organisation for disabled sports. Donations from Sanitas customers play an important role in turning these dreams into reality. All donations are put towards the fund for prostheses and aids. From here, the money is distributed to people who can’t take physical exercise for granted.

Donations are raised from the money donated via Sanitas Active. Users collect virtual coins for steps taken, visiting the gym or reaching daily sporting targets. These coins can be redeemed either in vouchers for specific online shops or in donations to PluSport. Last year, users collected CHF 16,180 for disabled sports through physical activity.

Where does PluSport offer support?

PluSport Disabled Sports Switzerland supports people with disabilities by offering programmes for all types of sport and exercise. Donations are used exclusively for this purpose. PluSport also organises various sporting events, such as their national PluSport Day, ski days, football tournaments, open days for modern sports such as climbing, karate, kayaking, sailing, and many more. In the area of competitive sport, PluSport promotes young talent and ensures that ambitious athletes can take part in national and international competitions with Swiss Paralympic.

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