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Olympian and IronMan

March 13, 2011

Interview with Krige Schabort
By Brooke Edwards

Krige Schabort was an avid surfer growing up in Cape Town, South Africa. He also enjoyed rugby and squash, and become active in the South African military as a young man. In 1987, during a Cold War battle with Angola, a bomb from a Russian fighter plane hit Schabort. He nearly died, and was saved by an adrenaline shot to his heart. When he woke up days later, he learned that both of his legs and one finger had been amputated.

As a disabled athlete, Schabort broke South African swim records and competed in wheelchair basketball. But it was in his first wheelchair race in 1988 that Schabort found his passion.

Schabort moved to Cedartown, Georgia, with his wife in 1997. Now sponsored by wheelchair manufacturer Invacare, Schabort has repeatedly won the Cleveland, LaSalle Bank Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Columbus Marathons, among others. He placed third in the marathon at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona with a 1:30.23 and second in Sydney in 2000 with a 1:29.28. In 2004, he was accepted into the Honolulu Marathon’s Hall of Fame, after winning for the seventh year in a row.

Schabort has also racked up many 10K victories, and holds the world record for 10 miles with a time of 35:18. During the 2002 New York City Marathon, Schabort set a new course record with a time of 1:38.27. The next year, he won the race again and broke his own record with a 1:32.19 (since broken).

At 44, (2007) Schabort is still a top contender amongst a stacked class of racers…

Addendum by Bobby Lewis, LMT, Corrective Body Work

I met Krige when he first came to my clinic seeking help with his training and performance in the upcoming Paralympics Games. He was in training for the Paralympics Games. As a hand cycling athlete, he wanted to increase his ability to contract his abdominals as well as improve his range of motion with his shoulders. He had specific groin pain as well.

We designed a treatment plan to include myofascial release at the hip and through his abs in order to lengthen the muscles that had been shortened from repetitive use. On the first visit of several, we discovered trigger points in his abs that referred pain to his groin as well as to his foot! Yes, his foot! The trigger point referred to what is called a “phantom pain.” When these trigger points were released, his abdominal muscles lengthened. The range of motion in his shoulders increased so he would have great “reach and pull.” Krige reported greater strength during daily training. He went on to the Olympics and competed very well.

Two years later Krige returned to my clinic again for help in strengthening and training for an upcoming triathlon. He had limitations in his over-hand free-style stroke which limited his ability to turn his head to breathe during the swimming competition. He had pain in his neck on one side and headaches. The problem was rooted in the medial rotators of his shoulders. His lats had also shortened. With myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy and MET stretches, we lengthend his Lats. We did the same treatment on the neck muscles that rotated his head to the opposite side.

After his first visit, Krige went directly to the pool to train. He returned the same week for more treatment and was happy to report that he had taken a full minute off of his best time! Kriege attributed this to his ability to reach further with the one arm and the ability to turn his head without limitation or pain, in order to breathe. Each week thereafter he reported a continual drop off of his best time.

Krige is a determined human and a remarkable athlete. He knows firsthand the value of supplementing his training with manual therapy and giving himself the winning edge in competition. It has been an honor to be a part of this championship athlete’s journey.



  1. That’s amazing! Would the affected muscles that kept him from turning his head to breathe be the same muscles keeping me from easily looking back to the left for traffic before pulling out (hairpin turn)? I’m glad I know you!

  2. Yes, most likely the same rotational muscles.

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