Lisa's story

Hi, my name is Lisa Kruger and I was born on the 4th of September 2000 in Harderwijk.

In May 2012 I started Paralympic Swimming. I would like to tell you why.

 I was born healthy in 2000, but have made a hard fall from a wall in 2006 and at that time I broke several bones in my left arm. I had surgery right away and everything seemed to go well. I then started with on Modern Pentathlon (this is a sport where you compete in running, swimming, fencing, shooting and horseback riding). I reached, when I was 8 years old, 3rd place at the Dutch Youth Championships

 Unfortunately, my left arm started giving me more and more burden and pain and my arm started to grow crooked.  I had less and less movement in my left arm and noticed that, in relation to my right arm, the left arm seemed to be shorter. I had to return to the hospital and there they discovered that the epiphysis of my radius was so damaged during that terrible fall, that one bone is no longer growing. Because the other bones in my arm are still growing, my left arm is now growing crooked. This growth disorder is also known as "Madelungse Deformity". Only, in my case, the disorder is caused by a trauma and is not a hereditary / congenital defect. Because of these problems I had to undergo multiple surgeries, such as an operation to extend the bone, where they put in a pin to the non-growing bone, with a swivel mechanism on the outside. For 3 months I had to tighten the screws every day, in order to lengthen the bone slightly. Unfortunately, this radical surgery did not do what the doctors hoped for and the doctor declared me inoperable in August 2014. As far as trying to extend the non-growing bone, the bone had  been pushed over my carpal bones, which only caused me to have less movement in my wrist. So I have limited movement in my wrist, I can not turn my arm, I can not put any pressure on my arm and can not hang on it. My left arm is now about 7 centimetres shorter than my right arm and my left hand is a little bit smaller than my right hand. I have virtually no strength in my left hand and therefore 70% less strength in my left arm in comparison to my right arm. Until I stop growing I have to have regular check-ups at the Erasmus hospital in Rotterdam, to see if there is a need for emergency surgery because of the imbalance. But it will never be all right again.

My favourite sport Modern Pentathlon was a no longer possible for me and I had to stop. Because swimming was my strongest discipline and fortunately swimming is possible with my disability, I started in November 2011 with competitive swimming at the Woelwaters in Harderwijk.

 I soon won many gold medals, but there were things I could not do with my arm. That is why we requested a dispensation pass at the KNZB (Dutch Swimming Federation), so I would not be disqualified during competitions. For this I had to undergo an official medical examination in Zeist.My limtations turned out to be bad enough to be classified in competitions for people with disabilities with the minimum restriction. This is the Paralympic Swimming S10, SB9 and SM10 class (S stands for freestyle, butterfly and backstroke, SB9 represents Breaststroke and SM represents Medley). In March 2013, I have been also classified internationally in Amiens, France and reclassifioed in 2015 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. I will have my next reclassification in 2018.

 In May 2012, I swam my first competition with the disabled in the Pieter v.d. Hoogenband swim stadium in Eindhoven and became two times 3rd and one time 2nd. I also swam the limits for the Dutch Junior Championships and Dutch Sprint Championships. Less than a month later I was standing nervously at the start of this great championship. I ended up becoming a Dutch Junior Champion in the 100m breaststroke and the 100m freestyle, second in the 50m breaststroke. I became a Dutch Junior Sprint Champion in the 50m breaststroke and second in 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. I even did make it to the Sprint finals among the seniors. I finished seventh in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke and even became fifth in the 50m breaststroke. Almost all swimmers who participated in the Paralympic Games in Londen, also participated. From 2012 I have won a lot of National Youth - and National titles. I swam some world-, European- and Dutch Records.

From season 2012/2013 I participate in the competitions for disabled swimmers at national and international level. In September 2013 I joined the Dutch Talents selection. In 2013 I  changed schools.  I now go to the Gymnasium at the Topsport Talent School, The “CSE" (Centre for Sport & Education) in Zwolle, where I can do 3 training sessions a week by coach Kira Fijn and go to school also. In March 2014, I joined the swimming club ZPC Amersfoort. In January 2017 I earned a spot on the senior National Paralympic Team, coached by Sander Nijhuis.

 

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