July 25, 2022

ETH Zürich - 5 questions for David Mzee, Swiss National Wheelchair Rugby Player

In the "5 questions" series, we speak with individuals who are living with a physical disability about their life, dreams, and vision for the future of rehabilitation and inclusion.

«RESC: David, how do you usually introduce yourself when you meet someone new?

David Mzee (DM): Hi, my name is David.

RESC: What is your “superpower”?
DM: I speak many different languages: irony, English, German, a little bit of sarcasm and many Swiss German dialects. Moreover, I’ve been described as multiplex. I’m in the starting line-up for the Swiss national wheelchair rugby team. This year we qualified for the first time in 16 years for the world championship. I’m also one of the first people to take steps after a spinal cord injury, thanks to an electrode that was implanted onto my spinal cord. I’ve studied human movement sciences and sports at ETH Zurich and finished my Master’s summa cum laude in 2016. I’m the only physical education teacher in Switzerland who is dependent on a wheelchair. A few years ago, I developed a unique way of wakeboarding for people with quadriplegia who don’t have enough function in their hands to hold on to the handle by themselves. While doing this, I also learned how to kitesurf and made it on to Switzerland’s Naish team. Currently I’m one of the only people with quadriplegia in the world who does this sport. Moreover, I’m an inspirational speaker and have had the privilege to give talks in many different countries.

RESC: What are people without physical limitations most amazed by when they meet you?
DM: There isn’t anyone without physical limitations. Even Superman is limited by Kryptonite. But what many people are amazed by when they meet me is how...»