MMSC: "Medical technologies will fundamentally affect disability sports"

Interview with Andrea Eskau, 21-time world champion and 6-time Paralympic medalist


Recently in Rio de Janeiro, now in Düsseldorf: 21-time world champion and 6-time Paralympic medalist Andrea Eskau will be a participant in the MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (MMSC) panel discussion today. This afternoon and in this interview with, she talks about technologies and the future of sports for people with disabilities.

Photo: Andrea Eskau; Copyright: Oliver Kremer/DBS

Andrea Eskau; © Oliver Kremer/DBS

Ms. Eskau, how do technologies impact your personal life and athletic activities?

Andrea Eskau: Technical products are vitally important, especially in my athletic activities. The rapid pace of technological advancements, for instance in the area of performance measurement, requires you to constantly stay up to date on the latest information. When it comes to the technology sector, is a great tool for this. There are also a number of interfaces for your personal life.

Needless to say, you also hope that technology advances will have a great impact on your own coping strategies as it relates to your respective disability. I am closely watching the evolution in exoskeletons in particular.

What opportunities does technology provide for disability sports?

Eskau: Medical technologies will continue to fundamentally affect disability sports. Not only does this apply to prosthetic and orthotic products but also pertains to information and communications technology which could considerably improve sport medicine care for top athletes in the future.

How do you envision the future of disability sports?

Eskau: The importance of sports for individuals with disabilities or impairments will continue to increase. But here, you clearly need to distinguish between options in sports rehabilitation and Paralympic sports competitions. As a result of demographic changes, there will be a greater need for preventive and rehabilitative sports options.

In turn, Paralympic competitive sport is able to vividly showcase the performance skills of people with disabilities and often encourages others to join in and follow their lead in the process. At this point, society shows great interest in an extensive coverage of Paralympic sports.

Photo: Andrea Eskau during Panel Discussion at MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (MMSC); Copyright: beta-web/Günther

Andrea Eskau during the Panel Discussion at MEDICA MEDICINE + SPORTS CONFERENCE (MMSC); © beta-web/Günther

What do you think of competitions like Cybathlon?

Eskau: These types of competitions are very important because they showcase technological advances in a unique way. The practical application of these developments but also their clearly still existing weak spots are very realistically demonstrated.

How do sports for the disabled play an important role at the MEDICA trade fair?

Eskau: The subject of illness and disability are inevitably core areas of a medical technology trade fair. And since disability sports can play an important role in rehabilitation and integration, they should definitely also be represented as such at the MEDICA.



Tuesday, November 15, Panel Discussion at 13:10 PM, CCD Süd (South)

Photo: Nadine Lormis; Copyright: B. Frommann

© B. Frommann

The interview was conducted by Nadine Lormis and translated by Elena O'Meara.