On 30 July 2015, Kira Grünberg’s life changed in an instant. During a training jump she landed on the box rather than the mat — from a height of four metres. She was rushed to the hospital and operated on for two hours. Then came the diagnosis: paraplegia. Since then, Kira Grünberg has been wheelchair-bound.
But the Austrian did not succumb to despair. Rather, she took her fate into her own hands and looked to the future. “At first it was a real struggle to ask for help all the time. It wasn’t fun, because I really couldn’t do much of anything for myself”, says Grünberg, now 25. To this day she still requires plenty of assistance, and yet she feels like she leads a self-determined life. “Self-determination means to me that I can determine what happens to me and what is done with me.”
After the accident Grünberg knew that she wanted to work for people with handicaps. She is politically active and now sits in the Austrian parliament. In her inaugural address in 2017, she said: “The differently abled must be given a fair chance to truly show what they are capable of. Every person has the right to a self-determined life.” That’s what Kira Grünberg advocates.