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Austria's top pole-vaulter paralyzed after training injury

July 31, 2015

Austrian pole-vaulter Kira Grünberg suffered a serious injury in training and despite emergency surgery, has been left paralyzed by the accident.

Deutschland Kira Grünberg Stabhochspringerin
Image: picture alliance/Citypress 24

Austria's leading pole-vaulter Kira Grünberg has suffered severe cervical injuries after the 21-year-old landed beside the mat on her head and neck in a practice jump. Her injuries have left her tetraplegic.

A statement on Friday from the Austrian athletics federation (ÖLV) and the University Clinic in Innsbruck where Grünberg is being treated revealed "a fracture of the cervical vertebrae of the spine" had been found. The statement added: "After we had diagnosed paraplegia before the operation, the patient received emergency surgery in order to stabilize her spine and avoid further damage."

Trained by her father, Grünberg finished fourth at the 2012 junior world championships before going on to set an Austrian women's record of 4.45 meters during last year's outdoor European Championships in Zurich. She repeated that feat indoors in Prague in March of this year.

jh/asz (SID, dpa)