Handball player Alexander Cossmann is 19 years old and currently plays for the second team of the “Füchse Berlin”. In order to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional athlete, he moved to the School and Competitive Sports Centre Berlin about three years ago.
Alex feels at home with the Füchse Berlin playing the position of the circle runner. He has also been an integral part of our product tester pool for some time now. Through the continuous use of the Betterguards Technology in training and competition, we receive valuable feedback for our product development. In return, our intelligent technology helps Alex to focus on the essential - his performance in sport - without fear of ankle injuries.
In this short interview, we talked to Alex about his sporting goals, what experiences he has had with injuries in the past and how Betterguards supports him on his way to becoming a professional.
(F): "Alex, how did you get into handball in the first place?"
(A): "Both of my parents used to play handball themselves. That was basically it. Besides, my friends I grew up with were active in handball too. So I joined them relatively quickly."
(F): "When and how did you first find out about our technology?"
(A): "That was relatively early. I mean, I was currently active in the second year of the B-youth. The contact to you was made through Volker Zerbe, the sports coordinator of the Füchse. At that time we were looking to contact you because we often had problems with ligament injuries in handball. After the first players trained with your Betterguards Systems, I wanted to test the technology myself, because I personally had already made experience with joint injuries.”
(F): "How is the testing currently going for you? How often do you use our technology in training and competition?"
(A): "Right now I own a slightly higher and more stable shoe - modified by your development team - in which the product is firmly integrated. In addition, I also have your custom Betterguards Systems to insert into my other shoes. Due to the different training sessions and also the permanent load on the shoe material I simply need several pairs of shoes. Currently I am training about seven times a week, which includes athletic training, special throwing training or normal handball training. Therefore the possibility of an exchangeable system is very convenient for me".
(F): "You mentioned that you previously had experiences with injuries yourself. Which specific injuries are you talking about?”
(A): "As far as ankle joints are concerned, I already had some injuries in my right foot. Several torn outer ligaments and a syndesmosis ligament rupture had led me to the decision to use a splint in the past. However, it is way too stiff and affects me too much. Especially in defence, where it is important to react quickly to the opponent's actions, conventional ankle orthoses simply hinder me too much".
“Since using the Betterguards Technology, I have been effectively protected against ankle injuries. At the same time, the intelligent mechanism allows me to move completely unconstrained and focus on my performance/game.”
"The unique new joint protection has been able to protect me from injuries several times now. The noticeable protective effect also has a positive influence on the mental aspect of my sport. Betterguards gives me the confidence that I am protected during critical movements."
(F): "To what extent does playing time take a special role in the talent development of young professional athletes and is at risk of injury?"
(A): "I think this aspect is important in every team sport. But I would not like to judge to what extent playing time with a competitive character is more important than practice. Since we are a very young second team at the moment, we also play a lot of games internally. So every player is granted enough playing time and gets the opportunity to develop himself. Of course it's hard to break into the first team after an injury, but I think our coaches have a good feeling to bring the players back. The fact that we usually have quite a good squad depth anyway means that we rotate quite regularly."
(F): "Does the Betterguards Technology have a positive influence on your performance when it's game time?"
(A): "I believe that the fear of injuries plays a major role in sporting performance. Especially for players who have already had painful experiences with serious injuries. They often train with a bias and do not realize their true potential.
With effective protection, confidence in one's own movements can be regained and thus, ultimately, athletic performance can be improved. Players who are courageous and show a strong self-confidence show a different intensity in training and also in the game".
(F): "Speaking of sporting performance. What has been your personal favorite moment in handball so far?"
(A): "There are many moments which make it difficult to choose just one. Of course, the national cup was great fun, where you played as a group for the federal state of Berlin and against the other federal states.
In the last season in the A-youth, we were able to become German champions with our team. The Corona Virus had its effects on the season and we eventually shared the title with the SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Nevertheless, especially the moments as a team are special memories and more important to me than the individual performance".
(F): "What are your goals for the near future? Both for the upcoming season with your team and in private?"
(A): "Right now it is important for me to have a good preseason and then to start successfully into the season with the second team of Füchse Berlin.To establish myself in the men's singles in the first year, to get a lot of playing time and to simply make a big step in my personal development, that would make for a successful next period for me. Of course, I still have my sights set on playing in the first or second handball Bundesliga later in my career.
The whole team thanks Alex for his efforts as a tester of our Betterguards Technology. We are looking forward to the continuing valuable cooperation and remain committed to do our part to ensure that Alex continues to be well protected and is able to deliver his best performance in the sport.
We wish you good luck for the coming time and are sure that you will make a name for yourself.