Maarten Thysen

Maarten Thysen

Physical Therapy

Maarten Thysen is MSc. Physical Education and MSc. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, with a specialisation in Sports Physiotherapy and Manual Therapy. As a Senior Sports Physiotherapist at UZ-KULeuven he has developed extensive expertise in the field of prevention and rehabilitation of sports injuries.

Since 2003 Maarten guides both national and international top athletes and works with various sport federations and international teams. As a member of the BMC-Etixx pro triathlon team since 2010, he is responsible for S&C training and injury prevention. For the OPQS pro cycling team he provided the off-bike training sessions during 3 seasons.

Maarten was team physio for the Belgian Olympic Team at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics. He also took part in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics with the speed skating team around pro-athlete Bart Swings. 

At this moment there is an intensive preparation for the Winter Games of Pyeongchang 2018 and the Road To Tokyo 2020 has started.

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Mathieu Gram

Mathieu Gram

Physical Therapy

Mathieu Gram holds a Master degree in “Physical Education & Movement Sciences” as well as a Master degree “Rehabilitation Sciences & Physiotherapy”, with a specialization in Sports Physiotherapy, Manual & Myofascial Therapy. 

His main focus is optimizing one’s rehabilitation and maximizing one’s potential towards achieving their ambitious performance goals. He has worked in 3 different continents within elite level sports experiencing different cultures and sport specific perspectives allowing him to provide an eclectic approach so as to guide the athlete through all necessary steps from rehabilitation to their highest performance goals. 

He started his journey in Perth (Western Australia) working as a trainee with the West Coast Eagles Australian Football team. Consecutively he was active at Al-Ahli Saudi Soccer team based in Jeddah (Saudi-Arabia). In 2014 he returned to Belgium in order to assist in starting up the holistic concept of “Grit Belgian Sports Clinic”. Since his return he guided the athletes towards their main competition goals and take part in European & World Cups,  the European Games in Baku 2015 and the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

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Thalia Kindt

Thalia Kindt

Physical Therapy

Thalia Kindt is MSc. Physical Education and MSc. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, with a specialisation in Sport Physiotherapy. She also fruitfully followed a Manual Therapy course and graduated in 2016.  Moreover, Thalia is currently enrolled in GRIT as Clinical Pilates instructor for which she followed courses at the APPI HealthGroup in London, United Kingdom.

She started her professional carreer as a researcher at KU Leuven. During this time she worked on a musculoskeletal research project involving gait analyses en motor-driven strength assessments. This acquired scientific knowledge and experience is now incorporated in the analysis of gait and running techniques to prevent specific sports injuries.

Since 2005 Thalia is a trainer in gymnastics, focussing on guiding competition gymnasts towards their individual goals, mainly in tumbling. In addition to her experience as a trainer, she is also a jury member in this sport. In this way, she is specialized in analyzing highly specific movement patterns and the correction of technical impairments , which can be used for injury prevention and for performance rehabilitation.

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Lien Steurs

Lien Steurs

Physical Therapy

Lien Steurs holds a BSc. Degree in Physical Education, a MSc. Degree in Physiotherapy with a specialization in sports physiotherapy and is currently following a course to specialize in Manual Therapy.

She worked as a physical coach where she guided individuals to achieve their sporting goals and assisted in the physical training of the first division ladies hockey. Lien developed her knowledge about sport injuries, injury prevention and the support that is needed to enhance an athletes performance whilst working as a sports physiotherapist in soccer's Superleague (Belgium) and as a trainee in rugby league (Australia).

During her Master degree, she assisted in a research project concerning injury prevention in running with the aim to scientifically integrate the use of running analysis in the clinical practice.

In addition to her time in the clinic, Lien travels to work on the PGA European Tour (golf) to provide physical therapy to support the athletes performance.

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Joris Jellasics

Joris Jellasics

Physical Therapy

Joris Jellasics is BSc. Physical Education & Movement Sciences and MSc. Rehabilitation Sciences & Physiotherapy, with a specialization in Sports Physiotherapy and Myofascial Therapy. Currently he is specializing in Manual Therapy.

Joris started his professional career as Sports Physiotherapist in the sports department of UZ-Leuven where he developed his expertise in sports injuries. He worked for several years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in a professional soccer team. There he guided first division youth players in optimizing the physical game aspects and preventing injuries.

Joris is currently active as Rehabilitation Trainer in the elite soccer school of Leuven and is associated to the Royal Belgian Football Association, where he guides Belgian national youth teams as physiotherapist.

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Johan Bellemans

Johan Bellemans

Knee and Sports Orthopaedics

Prof. Dr. J. Bellemans is an orthopaedic surgeon specialised in knee surgery and sports orthopaedics. He has an international reputation and is worldwide recognised for his knowledge and work on the knee joint. He was the first to introduce several new techniques in knee and sports related surgery.

He and his team were recently in the world-news for their discovery of the anterolateral ligament of the knee, and its implications towards treatment of knee injuries. 

Prof. Dr. J. Bellemans is former head of the orthopaedic department at the University Hospitals Leuven, and has published more than 190 research papers on the knee and sports related injuries. 

Currently he is staff member at the Orthopaedic and Traumatology Department of the ZOL Hospitals Genk.

Prof. Dr. J. Bellemans has treated numerous national and international top athletes, and is team-doctor for the Belgian Olympic team since the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games he was coordinator and head of the medical staff for Team Belgium.

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Roel Parys

Roel Parys

Sports Medicine

Dr. Roel Parys studied Physical Medicine and Sports Medicine at the KU Leuven. He did a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and gained experience abroad in the Olympic Parc Sports Medicine Center in Melbourne (Australia). He is part of the Physical Medicine group of the OLV Hospital in Aalst. He specializes in the conservative treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system.

He is currently team physician of the international BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team, Belgian athletics federation, Okapi Aalstar and Flemish triathlon and duathlon federation. He went to the European Athletics Championships in 2012 (Helsinki), 2014 (Zurich) and 2016 (Amsterdam) and World Athletics Championships 2011 (Daegu), 2013(Moscow), 2015 (Beijing) and 2017 (London). He was as team doctor also part of the Belgian medical staff at the Olympic Games 2016 (Rio). 

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Kristof Smeets

Kristof Smeets

Knee and Sports Orthopaedics

Dr. Kristof Smeets graduated as an orthopedic surgeon at the University Hospitals of Leuven, where he focused on knee and sports problems. After his trainingship, he did fellowships at the North Sydney Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre (Sydney – Australia), the Mayo Clinic (Rochester - USA) and the Steadman Clinic (Vail - USA). Currently, he is also working at Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg (Genk) and he combines this with scientific research about knee and sports pathology.

As team physician he covered the U15 and U16 national soccer teams of the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA). Furthermore, he accompanied the Belgian Youth Olympic Team during foreign trainings. He is a former board member of the BOTRA (Belgian Orthopaedics & Traumatology Residents Association).

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Glenn Van Crombrugge

Glenn Van Crombrugge

Sports Medicine

Dr. Glenn Van Crombrugge is a sport medicine doctor and family medicine doctor who graduated at the University of Leuven and Ghent. He works in GRIT and the Medical Sportlab Mechelen. He is specialized in:
- Diagnostics and treatment of sports injuries
- Diagnostics and treatment of musculoskeletal problems
- Sport medicine screenings (heart, lungs and biomechanic analysis)
- Sport specific and overall blood analysis
- Cardiopulmonary exercise test measuring individual training zones

Dr. Van Crombrugge is working as sport medicine doctor for the Belgian National Soccer Federation where he performed the cardiopulmonary screenings for the Red Devils prior to going to the World Championship 2014 in Brasil and the European Championship 2016 in France. He also treats the injuries and provides cardiopulmonary screenings for Rugby Club Mechelen and soccer team KFC Eppegem.

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Elodie Ouedraogo

Elodie Ouedraogo

Head Personal Training

I love sports, and track and field in particular. I've even dedicated 22 years of my life to it. And turning a hobby into a profession is something most athletes can only dream of. It all sounds incredibly exciting, and it is: travelling the world, meeting interesting people, and if you're lucky enough, bringing home medals.

People have tremendous respect for athletes, but what does it mean to be a professional one? Giving your all in training two or three times a day, in the hope of reaping the rewards when it all comes together. Performing at the highest level means trainig for that one moment when the stars align. Those few seconds when you have to reach your best form ever. An sudden illness or a few nights of irregular sleep? Too bad, you may get a second chance next year.

There are few certainties in life, and even less in professional sports. The love and respect from an entire nation when you win a medal is overwhelming, even addictive. The criticism and dissapointment when you fail is even harder. An athlete will rarely bare his soul, no matter how candid an interview feels. When we win, we're the last one to aknowledge our achievements, but when we lose, we're the first to put ourselves down. "Not good enough" is the only explanation needed.

An athlete lives an ascetic life and only gets noticed out on the field. One wrong move however and critics suddenly seem to know best why you've been underperforming. Critics who've most likely never seen you train once. Critics who never once see you train and slave away. The reality is that during 50 weeks of the year athletes barely relax. We are controlefreaks, machines, who hide the fact that we're extremely ambitious with smiles and child-like enthousiasm. But in the end sport is nothing but an ongoing battle with yourself. Rest means struggling between the thought of a nice meal and the knowledge you have to burn it off again afterwards. Training means trying to figure out why our times are slower than before or why we had to get injured again. It means conquering all those fears, to be able to compete and to reap the rewards without being afraid to fail.

We don't do 12 hour shifts in the health sector, we're not saving the world, but we help dream and inspire. Sports made people see me as a physically strong woman. But I now realize it has really turned me into a fearless person. It allows me to take on new challenges, like this amazing GRIT adventure.

So what does GRIT mean to me? Providing the right support system, with a personal approach, to help people excercise in a healthy and responsible way. Top class trainers, excellent medical support and a fantastic group of friends to excercise with are key to do so. It's what's worked for me for all those years, and I'd love to share it with the world. Training with GRIT might not get you a gold medal, but I'll show you you can do so much more than you ever imagined. Because in the end, top class sport is nothing but a continuus struggle... with yourself. And in that philosophy, we're all world class athletes.

Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to show some true GRIT.

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Sara Fletcher

Sara Fletcher

Personal Training

Sara entered the fitness world through competitive cycling in 2008 when she competed in her first race just 1 week after buying her first road bike. She got hooked and began training and racing her way up to the top of amateur cycling in the United States. Cycling has become life-changing for her as she enjoyed an empowering level of fitness, a freedom to see amazing places on two wheels, and a competitive challenge where she is always pushing herself to be better.

She became inspired in 2009 to help other people develop the same strength, confidence, and better health through fitness and sports, which she had found in cycling. For 4 years she trained clients and taught fitness classes and boot camps at NW Personal Training / NW Women's Fitness Club in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA.

Sara has certifications in Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Nutrition Coaching from American Council on Exercise, and is also certified in Cancer Exercise. She now begins her 10th year of bike racing, including her 3rd for a Belgian Club team, and competes in the elite women's road peloton in Europe.

"My approach to personal training not only to work on increasing strength in my clients, but to improve balance, stability, and create lifestyle changes that are sustainable. Every person must work consistently on their sports training or general physical conditioning and take overall responsibility for their health. And I like to make it fun!"

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Matthias De Baerdemaeker

Matthias De Baerdemaeker

Personal Training

Matthias De Baerdemaeker is MSc. Physical education & Movement Sciences, with specialization in physical activity, fitness and health. He has achieved Personal Trainer qualifications, recognized by the Flemish School and Trainer AALO.   

Since 2009, Matthias works as S&C-coach at Sportoase Leuven. As Physical Trainer at the first team of football club Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL) , he is since 2013 responsible for the preparation of the physical training, both on individual as on team level. He takes care of the daily warm ups, this load-management, testings and Return to Performance in the last step after injury.   

Coaching people is a passion for Matthias. With his enthusiasm and drive, he helps everyone in the practice further to a responsible sporting lifestyle. He keeps in touch with state of the art methods of physiological and strength training by following courses on a regular basis, such as TRX, EXOS, Olympic weightlifting. He is also active in the fitness world. As a Personal Trainer at GRIT, he will guide you to help reach your personal goals, regardless of whether you are a professional athlete or you make your first steps to a healthier and more active life!

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Thomas Deraedt

Thomas Deraedt

Thomas Deraedt graduated with a Bachelor degree in Orthopedic Technology at the Catholic School at De Kempen in 2004. He then obtained recognition by the national institute for health and disability insurance (the INAMI/RIZIV) as orthopedic technologist (healthcare deliverer | surgical truss maker - orthesist) in 2006.

He works for the company Aqtor! since 2004. The company has the latest materials, the most advanced technologies and own developed digital applications at its disposal. This way it is possible to work quickly and accurately. Thomas always works from the movement possibilities of the patient, not from his or her physical limitations. In consultation with the doctor and/or a multidisciplinary team, he does his utmost to make sure the patient with movement restrictions regains his/her freedom of movement.

Thomas works for the University Hospitals of Leuven and the General Hospital of Grammont for the services of orthopaedics, traumatology and rehabilitation.

Furthermore, he also worked for the Burns Centre Oscare in Antwerp and for the Europe hospitals in Brussels.

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Viktor Van der Veken

Viktor Van der Veken

Sports Psychologist

Viktor Van der Veken obtained his degree in work- and organization psychology at the KU Leuven. Afterwards he followed training in practical sport psychology, also at KU Leuven, in order to specialize further in the field of sport psychology. To extent his knowledge on the subconscious processes in the brain he followed a extra training program at the Palo Alto Institute on the topic Limbic Coaching. 

His goal is to aid the athlete in his or her struggle to perform at their very best. Through gaining a deeper insight in the own thinking processes and learning mental skills this goal will be met. His focus is to enhance the athlete’s ability to overcome mental obstacles on their own in order to fully utilize his inner potential. 

Viktor started his career at the Flemish Fencing association where he acts as the mental coach of the young athletes who are part of the elite performance program. Furthermore he has been active in various different sports, including individual (fencing, tennis, athletics, cycling, …) and team sports (football, handball, …). The athletes he has been helping range from all different levels. Whether you’re a top athlete or practice at recreational level he can help you to enhance your mental resilience and improve your performance. 

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Karolien Rector

Karolien Rector

Karolien Rector is an experienced sports dietitian. After her studies as a dietitian, she obtained a Master’s degree in health policy and hospital management at the Catholic University of Leuven. This was followed by a thorough specialization in Sports Dietetics. First by following the training ‘Sports Nutrition’ at the Han High School at Nijmegen (the Netherlands), then through the renowned training ‘Sports Nutrition’ by the International Olympic Committee (IOC, Lausanne, Switzerland).

Guiding athletes is Karolien’s passion! A lot of athletes already consulted her for advice. Often these athletes are professional sportsmen. Among her clients you will find the top of tennis players of Belgium, professional soccer players and cyclists, hockey players, the national sailing team an many other top athletes in the ‘smaller sports’. But, also recreational athletes can definitely consult her for advice or guidance: anyone who is interested in Healthy Living and Sports Nutrition is more than welcome.

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Samantha Kennes

Samantha Kennes

Administrative assistant

Samantha Kennes graduated successfully in Medical Administration in 2013.

She is the first contact for patients, is responsible for providing information, and for accurately handling the files.

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Rudi Diels

Rudi Diels

Sports Performance

Rudi Diels is MSc. Physical Education and Consultant in Physical Education with expertise in training and coaching.

He is active in athletics since 1987 and supports individual athletes including several Olympic athletes (Kim Gevaert, Elodie Ouedraogo and Michael Bultheel…)

Rudi is also national coach women’s 4x100m relay since 2001. With this team he won at the Beijing Olympics gold in 2008.

He is a coach in the Belgian delegation for the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships since 1999.

Rudi was also head coach of the Belgian women's bobsleigh team from 2007 to 2014. With this team he won a 6th place at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

He also has experience as a physical coach in various sports including athletics, bobsled and tennis.

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