Paralysed Kristina Vogel says horror crash has left her like a ‘baby’

PARALYSED Kristina Vogel is learning like a "baby" again as she deals with the painful process of intensive rehab.

Track cycling's greatest female star severed her spinal cord in a freak high-speed training crash in Germany last June.

The racer knew she had sustained severe injuries straight away, telling her stunned trackside colleague Max Levy she would never walk again.

Paralysed from the chest down, the two-time Olympic track cycling champion undergoes hours of daily physiotherapy in Berlin to improve her upper-body strength.

In a special BBC iPlayer documentary available today, Vogel showed decorated British Olympian Sir Chris Hoy the various exercises she undertakes to enhance mobility in her arms, which include lifting light balls and sticks, and taking up archery.

Vogel, 28, said: "I'm still a baby. Now I'm seven months old and I have to grow up.

"Day by day, I'm still learning. In hospital, everything is reachable but now I have to go outside and to learn daily. It's hard.

"I have no core. I am paralysed from here (her chest). It's hard for me to hold my hands this way (up straight) with weight.

"I'm trying to build my core but without having them (muscles). It's stupid, it's a weird thing, they are there but not really.

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"To build up needs much more time than before. The hardest thing was to get up from the floor in the chair — when I fall out it's important I come back up, so I don't have to wait for someone to help me get back into the chair."

German Vogel, an 11-time world champion, will live in a new, purpose-built bungalow.

She would consider trying her hand at road hand-cycling in the future but only once her muscles have strengthened.

Vogel told Hoy: "Sport will always be a part of my life but in para-cycling you need activity in my legs and I don't have that. There is nothing I can do on the track.

"I can do hand-biking or race chairs but it's an athletic thing. We will see."

Vogel has been touched by the worldwide public show of support and the £100,000 raised in crowd-funding following her crash in Cottbus.

Breaking down, she said: "What I found hardest were the people outside who had so many tears and cried because I was stupid and crashed into someone. I'm in a chair and I can handle it.

"It's crazy what was going on outside the hospital.

"Families who really do not have much money but sent me what little they had … that was crazy."

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Incredibly, despite the insurmountable odds, Vogel remains positive. She said: "Sometimes I'm frustrated, of course, but every day I'm happy to be here.

"My situation could have been worse than it is. My first vertebra was also broken and it could have been I would have had no movement in my arms. For that, it's OK."

Chris Hoy Meets Kristina Vogel: From Desperation to Inspiration is on BBC iPlayer today from 4pm.

PARALYSED Kristina Vogel is learning like a "baby" again as she deals with the painful process of intensive rehab.