Kevin Struck and his journey to Betterguards
Sport is one of the most popular hobbies worldwide. In Germany, too, physical activity is high on the agenda for many. For professionals, on the other hand, the measurable performance is always in the foreground.
Performance and form should be increased or preserved through targeted training, depending on your intention. Injuries and bruises are a constant possibility in the course of a career. Most of the time things go back to normal after a manageable amount of downtime, but sometimes not. Many are severely handicapped by an injury in sports and even affected in everyday life - for a long time. This includes former professional handball player Kevin Struck.
His long ordeal began at the 2018 Club World Cup in Doha
The handball player, who played for Füchse Berlin and VfL Potsdam, struggled for six months with the consequences of a serious ankle injury. He tore several ligaments. In addition, the capsules, cartilage, syndesmosis ligament and tendon were badly affected. Kevin Struck still remembers the day that turned his life upside down.
But he didn't know that at the time. Because he just twisted his ankle when he accidentally stepped on his opponent's foot while trying to defend himself. The 2018 Club World Cup in Doha was over for the Füchse Berlin defender. After the forced break due to injury, Kevin wanted to quickly step on the gas again. Just like he always had after injuries.
After all, he had twisted his ankle several times before. There was no long downtime for the former junior international player. As a rule, he concealed or fought the injury with the help of tape. After just a few games, however, he gave up again. "The taping was just extremely time-consuming and also uncomfortable. As a result, I didn't really feel comfortable on the field," he says in retrospect.
Much acclaimed comeback after a downtime of around six months
But this time everything was very different. The injuries in his ankle from twisting were serious. A complex operation by a specialist was necessary to first patch up the affected foot. This was followed by almost six months of intensive rehabilitation and rehabilitation training. That was not all. Kevin Struck tried to get his foot and body used to a high load again. Among other activities, he trained in the sand and completed an individual rehab training program up to ten times a week.
There was also muscle training to stabilize the ankle, work in the water flow channel and on the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill. "Time was a real luxury for me back then," says the former handball professional, describing his situation and emotions at the time. "But I always had the goal in mind to play for my foxes in the Bundesliga again. This goal motivated 110 % in every single training or rehabilitation session."
From his youth club Füchse Berlin he goes to VfL Potsdam
And indeed - after about half a year he celebrated his comeback in the Handball Bundesliga. He had reached his goal. However, certain rituals now belonged to training and competition. So he not only exchanged his crutches for special shoes, but also put on tape and bandages before every training session and every game. It increased the stability and protection of the ankle. Only after a year and a half did Kevin play again without tape and bandage.
Injections were now part of his sporting life at times. "But the worst thing was that because of all the tapes and bandages, none of the shoes were really comfortable anymore and the already existing restricted movement of the foot was even worse," says the mechanical engineering student, summarizing his biggest problems. "That ultimately caused the unpleasant feeling that my performance was decreasing."
Nevertheless, Kevin Struck continued to play for Füchse Berlin in the Handball Bundesliga until 2020, before moving to third division club VfL Potsdam as a junior, Vice European Champion, Club World Champion and EHF Cup winner. In 2022, he finally ended his active career.
He stays connected to the sport through Betterguards
However, he has remained true to the sport. Today, alongside his studies, he works as a biomechanical engineer with us in Berlin and is involved in the development of the bandage with the multi-patented technology as a "safety belt" for the ankle joint. Kevin came into contact with us through an advertisement. The innovative products and services inspired him right away.
In November 2022 he offered to help out in defense at third-division side Eintracht Hildesheim. He accompanied the team until the end of the year.
Modern ankle bandage: Kevin is enthusiastic about playing handball safely
Kevin loves the innovative ankle support that combines protection, freedom of movement and comfort. He experiences the great quality of this ankle bandage in handball time and time again in tests with athletes, on test benches and in studies. "You can use this bandage with an intelligent fluid system for prevention and rehabilitation, " he enthuses about the possibilities. His former professional colleague Alexander Cossmann has now been injury-free for 4 years thanks to Betterguards . Would Kevin still be playing handball on the big stage today if The Betterguard had existed back then? Probably yes, he says.
"I'm very happy to be working on a product after I've retired, which I think can be a game changer for many athletes. I can recommend every handball player who is tired of stiff orthoses and tapes to try The BetterGuard. I hope that in the future, this adaptive protection and prevention of ankle injuries in handball will gain significantly more acceptance, because almost all of my former teammates have had this problem at some point.”
- Kevin Struck on ankle bandage handball