Jan-Christoph Ihrens – a triple-amputated plays table tennis

As a triple-amputee Jan-Christoph Ihrens posed us a challenge. At the moment he has a femur prothesis (C-Leg), a transtibial prothesis (Harmony-System) and a myo-electronical arm prothesis.

Jan was so kind to answer some questions:

Ralph Scharpenberg: Hey Jan, nice that we can ask you some questions. Would you like to tell something about you and your prosthetic fitting?

Jan-Christoph Ihrens: Of course! I’m 40 years old, 1,78m high and weigh… So, that’s difficult to say, because I just can weight myself with my prothesis. With both leg prosthesis, jeans, T-Shirt and shoes I weigh 67kg at the moment. But this statement is not really meaningful. Eleven years ago, my left thigh, my right lower leg and my left upper arm got amputee after an accident. I had luck, that you already built m

y first interim prothesis and I don’t repent it to come to Rostock, even tough it is a longer way from Kiel, when something had to be changed with my supply. You and your team get everything under control. At the moment I have a C-Leg, a Harmony-System and a myo-electronical arm prothesis – so a lot of high-tech!

Ralph Scharpenberg: And you also do a lot of sport, right?

Jan-Christoph Ihrens: Yes. Already as a youth I played table tennis for a few years. After a “short” break from 20 years I started 4 years ago. At the beginning in a team, with not hampered, on district level. But after a year I got interested in the disabled sport and joined a special sports club for disabled persons. They support their members really good. Meanwhile I train in my “main club”, and in addition, I have a really good trainer and I also have training in the schleswig-holstein intensive training center for disabled table tennis. There I train 6 up to 9 hours per week.

Ralph Scharpenberg: Do you need special prothesis for your sport?

Jan-Christoph Ihrens: No, at the moment I don’t see any necessity. The C-Leg and the transtibial prosthesis provide a good stability and balance combined with a high flexibility – I don’t know, how you can change it in a better way. I don’t need the arm prothesis for playing table tennis – it just disturbs me.

Ralph Scharpenberg: Did you already achieve some successes?

Jan-Christoph Ihrens: As one highlight there where two ascents in three seasons with my “not hampered-team”, as well as three participations at the German Championships in the disabled sport. At the last championship I reached the quarter-final and got fifth. Not a word class-placing, but I’m working on it. And i also get theird at the district championship from non hampered!

Ralph Scharpenberg: Do you have an advice for our other clients?

Jan-Christoph Ihrens: You should never give up, you have to work on all time. There are some moments, which are frustrated, but otherwise it is incredible what you can do, with a good prothesis technique, as an amputee.

Ralph Scharpenberg: Thanks for your time and good luck for your table tennis career.