PRESS RELEASE 18.08.2003


Volleyballer offers help to wrestler after stroke

August 18, 2003 - German national player Ralph Bergmann (Roselare / Belgium), who had a stroke in December of 1992 and is now in the German Volleyball squad for the European Championship from September 5-14 in Karlsruhe, Leipzig and Berlin, has said he would like to offer his help and assistance to wrestler Alexander Leipold after his stroke.

Leipold suffered from paralysis during a training camp in Ukraine in the beginning of August and flew back to Germany. In a Frankfurt hospital he had a stroke with similar symptoms than Bergmann had. After visiting a special hospital in Würzburg, Leipold was released less than a week later and is recovering now.

“I would really like to give him advice and would like to know more about him”, Bergmann said. “It is wrong to say 'I had a stroke and therefore I don’t do sports anymore'. The body is used to sports on a high level and the body is able to tie in with the former performance. If you want your comeback it’s always possible”.

“I live my life more consciously now and I regard it was a present to be able to do sports and to earn money with it,” said the 33-year-old middle blocker, who earns his money in Belgium with Knack Roselare.

On December 12, 1992 Bergmann had a stroke with a complete paralysis of the right half of the body. From 1992 to 1997 he was treated with drugs that make the blood thinner and still today Bergmann takes 100 mg of aspirin per day. “That gives me security but if it happens that a match is coming up and I don’t feel well, I will not play.”

After four months without sport Bergmann began playing again in March of 1993 and later in autumn he finished fourth at the European Championship in Finland with the German team, still the best result of a German team at the Championship.