INITIALLY, German lass Levke Christiansen planned to visit her brother Hauke, who is a pastor with a German church in Malaysia, during her university break.
But a suggestion by her brother saw Levke ending up helping injured high-performance athletes back on their feet during her eight-week attachment with the National Sports Institute (NSI) rehabilitation unit of the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil recently.
“My brother told me that I would get bored doing nothing during this long period in Malaysia,” said Levke, who is pursuing a double degree in sports science and economics at Bielefeld University back home.
“So I contacted the NSI in May to enquire about the attachment programme for foreign students. NSI sports therapist Jorg Teichmann offered me a place at the rehabilitation unit.
“In studies, I chose to combine sports science with economics as I had no plan to become a physical education teacher after I graduate. I intend to explore other facets of work and opportunities.”
The sports-inclined Levke is a recreational mountain biker, runner and swimmer.
She had to give up basketball due to the demanding practical training of the sports science course. The course would not allow her the luxury to train thrice during weekdays and compete during weekends.
“As a sports science student, I need to be an all-rounder and have general knowledge about various games,” added Levke.
“The practical training that I've gained here will complement the theoretical knowledge that I am learning in university. Working with the rehabilitation unit has allowed me to see how the human anatomy functions.
“Besides that, it has given me the opportunity to pick up soft skills such as communicating with others.”
Levke aspires to play an active role in the German health care system by educating the public on injury prevention and rehabilitation.
“Health care is getting more expensive in Germany. It is important that the public learn to stay healthy by combining the right nutrition and exercise,” she said.
Levke, who returned to Germany earlier this week, said she was also fascinated by traditional Chinese therapy; namely acupuncture.
“Acupuncture does not only benefit sports people. It can be applied to ordinary people,” said Levke, a vegetarian who is fond of Indian food.
“In Malaysia, my favourite food is thosai with masala. I love the spicy dips. I feel much healthier being a vegetarian. To be honest, I do not like the taste of meat anyway,” she explained.
NSI sports therapist Jorg Teich-mann said: “She will become a good therapist because she is open-minded and a good listener.
“However, working with high-performance athletes is a different ball gane. We need to provide them with a conducive atmosphere to help them get back to their game.”