Three things we learned about disability and finding inner strength from French motocross racer, Axel Alletru

Published: 28 Nov 2023

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Considered one of the great hopes of French motocross, Axel Alletru suffered a serious crash during the 2010 World Championships. The verdict was clear: at 20, Axel was a paraplegic. Rather than resigning himself, rather than being angry, he chose the path of resilience and motivation. Hard work in rehabilitation led him much further along the road to recovery. Three years later, he became champion in para-swimming at the European Games and 12 times French champion. A true committed sportsman, Axel Alletru shares his life experience to show that you can bounce back after a difficult life (accident, disability, etc.). In business or in life, we often don’t know how to deal with disability or how to manage it with the people around us. However, disability can be a vector for performance and cohesion within a family or a company. 

Such an inspiring story makes us all reflect on our approach to life and its difficulties, and to take a step back. Axel gave three clear lessons that will change our perspective on disability, but above all on our power of resilience: how each of us can overcome life's challenges.

1.    Mental rehabilitation is as significant as the physical rehabilitation. 

80% of Axel's rehabilitation work was mental. The first step was his reconstruction: staying positive. Obviously, this involved hoping, despairing, hoping again... and then accepting the change in his new life. Not easy for a 20-year-old high-level athlete who loses the use of his legs. "One thing is for sure, I woke up every morning with a goal: to walk again. I saw myself walking again; it was a lot of mental work. The Visualization technique: a technique that can be adapted in all situations and especially in mine.

2.    Surround yourself with positive people

"Don't give up because of what people think." Surrounding yourself with positive people and not letting yourself be carried away is very important because you can quickly fall into a negative spiral and be carried away by people who don't have confidence and don't believe in you.

3.    Resilience means leaving resentment at the door 

"Today with my journey, my story, I have learned a word that resonates a lot in me: it is Resilience. Life can be cruel but generous at the same time: WITHOUT resentment towards life." Axel had 2 choices at that moment on his hospital bed after the accident: to accept and have ambitions or to remain a victim and withdraw. This resilience allowed him to accept: by accepting, it allowed him to move forward, to continue to dream and have ambitions. Axel, on the other hand, decided to accept and reminds us that accepting has nothing to do with resigning: we can continue to play the victims or we can believe that one day we will walk again.

The final lesson that Axel left the audience with is the importance of believing in yourself and having self-determination. Set new goals to find meaning in a new life.

Watch the event recording.