Ataxia UK

My story ... Movement is the most important thing ... A health unit that supports your condition!

My story ... Movement is the most important thing ... A health unit that supports your condition!


My name is Esteban Grieb, I’m 39 years old, I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I now live in Steyr, Austria. I was diagnosed Friedrich’s Ataxia in 1999 and I have been using a wheelchair for nearly 14 years.

Here, I’d like to tell you a short story about my life so far:

Sports, being active and generally keeping fit has always had a big importance in my life. My mother and father were both also very active and both also handicapped (infantil paralysis and polio). My Dad was a Paralympic Champion, World Champion and one of the best wheelchair sportsmen of his day. They were always great role-models for me because they showed that it is possible to live a normal life with a disability.

In my life I have played football, basketball, tennis, badminton, table tennis and many more. Just like the other kids my age, I loved doing sports. When I was about 17 I noticed that some of my movements were difficult, and not as good as they had been previously.

I felt tired a lot faster, my legs hurt and my body wasn’t as resilient as it had been, I could feel that my sporting performance was getting worse. Some of my friends noticed my movements, for example when I played Basketball, and laughed at me because they thought it was funny to see me when I played.

Later, after some medical examinations I recieved my diagnosis. My initial thoughts were, what’s that? Is it curable? Is it a infection that I can treat with medication? I had no idea about ataxia, and I think many people share these feelings and questions when they are first diagnosed!

At first I experienced many problems with my new diagnosis and the progression of my condition. I had some ups but many downs. I didn’t realize what my ataxia meant for me and I was very far away from accepting it.

After some years I started doing sports again. I had to adapt my training because by that time, I was already using a wheelchair. It was for this reason I choose to go to the gym and for the first time in my life I started to have regular private lessons with a physiotherapist. I started to recognize again that movement is so important to my life - life is movement. I was feeling motivated again and started to feel better and better all the time. Two or three 
times a week I trained and exercise for between half and hour and an hour. It’s very important to remember not to over exert yourself - listen to your body and take lots of rests and time to recover. Everybody is different!

For many years I visited the local gym where I live but as everybody knows with FA my stamina, strength and coordination was decreasing with time. This year I stopped going to the gym regularly but I didn’t stop exercising and regurlarly meeting with my physiotherapist. However, I have found a new way to to strengthen my body and i’m really happy with that what I can do by myself !

Last year I was introduced to smovey. It is a small exercise and health unit consisting of a swinging-ring system, a spiraled tube, four steels balls, and a grip with cushioning elements. The inventor is a man from my region here in Austria, who was diagnosed with the Parkinsons disease, so I thought I’d give it a try - and I grew to recognise that it could help me too. I started doing some exercises with smovey and after a short time I noticed that this tool was having a very positive impact, for example the fine motor skills in my hands improved. The other positive thing that now I also have my small gym at home! Because you don’t have to go outside your home or don’t need much space when you train using the smovey. I’m gently doing my exercises in my own way about 5 times a week for 10 to 20 minutes and it helps me a lot. I’m feeling better every time I use the smovey and it’s great to keep fit and healthy! The amazing thing is also that even with just a little bit of time and effort, you can achieve good results with the smovey.

I wanted to tell you my story because many people with FA and other neurological disease should know that there is something that can help you and support your condition. My goal is to inform as many people as I can!

If you have any question about me and the world class smovey, don’t hesitate, and contact me!

My mail-adress is:

Here you have some information about smovey:



Greetings from Austria


7 Replies

Wow! Thanks for that info 😊.

I don't think I'm ready to increase my exercise routine just yet, but maybe one day . . . . . . .

At the moment I go to physiotherapist twice a week for hour long sessions. At home, I do small eye exercises and on the days that I don't go to physio I do a few stand ups from sitting on a chair.

I don't think I want to increase at home yet as I like to keep some energy for socialising with friends and family. As you said it's about getting a balance between exercise, rest and living.

Good luck to you and so glad you've found a way to keep moving - it's so important.

Thanks again 😊


hey wibblywobbly :) thank u for your reply ...

I think everybody should find his or her the best method to stay in the best physical condition possible ... movement is the most important thing for us living with ataxia ...

I only want to tell as many people as I can that there are some possibilities to stay positive and do something for the mind and body :)

good luck too and all the best :)



Thanks for sharing your story & successes with exercise you are quite an inspiration. I agree that movement & exercise certainly helps but it is something that I have started to find difficult to do due to tiredness & constant problems with my body (back/shoulder/neck etc) over the past year. I will certainly look into the smovey but just reading your story is motivating me again - thanks.


1 like

thank you brian :)

I also get tired after some excercises ... but I say say always to me: keep on moving although you feel pain, that is the most important thing for us!

greetings and thank you for your words ...



Dear Esteban, Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing, you are very inspirational!!! I live in the US and don't think I can find or get a smovey here, although I did look at the website. Appears to be a great way to exercise. Kudos to you for continuing to be active. Before ataxia, I too was very active and athletic! I think not being able to do all the things I used to do (downhill skiing, tennis, running, etc.) has been the hardest thing about having ataxia. But reading your story and all the things you have done/still do has given me a renewed sense of what's possible! And for that, I want to thank you! My best to you..., ;o)

1 like

thanks february :)

you're right ... giving up sports was the hardest thing for me!!!

I found new ways to get active again after some years when I begin using a wheelchair. hope you also find your way to feel better ...

don't hasitate to contact me if I can help you!




Will do! Thank you, Esteban!!!


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