Niko Sommer has one goal: to win a medal at the Paralympics in 2026 in winter sports. He combines lectures and seminars with training and cycling at Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck, Germany. And training is a lot easier on the slopes, if you have the right type of catheter.
In 2017, the then 16–year–old had a serious fall during a training ride on the ski slope and has been paraplegic since then. Intermittent catheterization (IC) had to become an essential part of his life.
"When skiing," Niko says, "catheterization was always a big problem." But having tried LoFric Origo hydrophilic Intermittent Catheters from Wellspect, he found a few advantages that made a real difference. "They don't get cold so quickly, so I can always use them," says the 21–year–old.
At first, I noticed that catheterization took a little longer than with my previous product, but I was also experiencing significantly fewer urinary tract and bladder infections
It was in an interview some time ago with Martin Schenk, manager of Rollt. Magazine, that Niko was introduced to Wellspect’s products and tried them out. "At first, I noticed that catheterization took a little longer than with my previous product," Niko says. "But I also felt I was experiencing significantly fewer urinary tract and bladder infections. And then, the ability to fully empty the bladder and the bladder muscle tone began to improve," he continues.
Niko remembers that after about a year, he had a urological examination and was asked if he had changed or done anything differently – what was the cause for this improvement in bladder health? The obvious change Niko had made was to start using LoFric Origo, so it was clear to him that the improvement must be due to Wellspect's products. Niko felt the length and charrière size (the thickness of the tube) of LoFric were much better suited to his anatomy, and the good slippery surface of the catheters, the Urotonic Surface Technology, together with the non–touch technique that LoFric Origo offers, were in Niko's mind contributing factors to his improvement in bladder health.
Niko explains, "At first, the handling may be unfamiliar and take a little more time. But you should observe for yourself whether your body feels better or is helped by it."
Everything new is a bit unfamiliar at first . . .
He himself also noticed in the long run that the process of catheterizing with Wellspect products is just as fast as with his previous product. "Besides," Niko adds, "everything new is a bit unfamiliar at first."
Considering getting into a disability sport?
Either as a participant or in a supporting role?
As the profile of disability sport continues to rise since the Paralympics, Wellspect gathers three inspirational women from the front lines of contemporary and competitive Parasports, to share their unique sights, for the benefit of aspiring Paralympians and anyone wanting to get involved and enjoy the benefits of sport.