Nationwide, the “Stars of Sports” are awarded every year to voluntary sports clubs by the German Olympic Sports Confederation and the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken. This year, around 60 sports clubs in Schleswig-Holstein applied for the award, five of which come from the island. On 2 September, the awards were presented to the clubs in the Sylter Bank. Second place went to TSV Westerland with its heart sports group, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year: “We were very impressed by this long-standing commitment,” said Dirk Ehlers from the Sylter Bank Board of Directors, explaining the podium place of the heart sports group.
Since 1989, the training sessions of the cardiac sports group have taken place regularly, first with only ten participants in a small room in the North Sea Clinic, today in the sports hall of the St. Nicolai School. In the meantime, more than 200 people have been cared for over the years. “In the past, the project was ridiculed, treated like a fad,” recalls trainer Ingrid Kranz-Kahle. Currently, the group has around 55 members between the ages of 45 and 85, who are divided into several training groups according to their ability to work under pressure. “The number of participants shows that it is a very successful, but also very necessary group,” says TSV club chairman Hans Wilhelm Hansen, emphasizing the importance of the project.
A heart attack, a bypass, a new heart valve or a stent are the most common diagnoses of cardiac sports participants. And it is a misconception that only stressed managers or people over the age of 60 are hit by a heart attack, according to the trained nurse Kranz-Kahle: “In fact, they are people who are in the middle of life and are suddenly torn out of it without warning.”
In order to accompany these people as trainers on the often long way back to everyday life, the health insurance companies require a special license. “The training lasts two years,” reports the trainer. In addition, regular training on the mainland and medical know-how are necessary, “so it is more than difficult to find a replacement or successor, especially since it is a voluntary activity.” Dr. Henning Bachmann, a specialist in general medicine, has also been involved on a voluntary basis for 15 years: “We always have an emergency kit and a defibrillator with us,” but in 30 years of cardiac sports on Sylt, there have been no major incidents. “In order to participate in the cardiac sports group, a doctor’s prescription is required.
The health insurance company has to approve this and then also covers the costs for the training.” With a lot of fun, great group cohesion and long conversations, the goal is to strengthen and mobilize the body for reintegration into a new, different and more carefree life. In addition to the weekly training sessions in the sports hall of the St. Nicolai School, many other activities take place in the summer when the hall is closed. For the summer program, among other things, joint barbecues and petanque games are on the agenda. The partners of the participants are also allowed to take part in the summer: on beach walks, mudflat hikes and many other excursions. “It’s always nice: you get to know each other and can exchange ideas.”