Acting as CYBATHLON medical partner – our commitment to a humane approach, innovation and top-class medical services

A competition in which people with physical disabilities compete against each other to complete everyday tasks using state-of-the-art technical assistance systems – this is CYBATHLON 2020. Schulthess Klinik is supporting the event as a medical partner.


CYBATHLON is a project initiated by ETH Zurich that offers a platform to help promote development of assistance systems suitable for everyday use and which increases awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Teams from all over the world compete in six different disciplines:

  • Powered Arm Prosthesis Race
  • Powered Leg Prosthesis Race
  • Powered Exoskeleton Race (“external support” fitted to the body)
  • Powered Wheelchair Race
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
  • Brain-Computer Interface Race

Global and in a brand-new format

The coronavirus pandemic also posed new challenges for the CYBATHLON team. CYBATHLON 2020 will now be held in a global format on 13 and 14 November 2020 – wherever the teams live. Instead of starting directly next to each other, the pilots will start individually in their own countries, under the supervision of CYBATHLON officials. The competitions will be broadcast live on a new platform. Those who watch the event will be able to see for themselves how innovative assistance technology can support people with physical disabilities with everyday tasks.

This is why we are supporting CYBATHLON

Schulthess Klinik focuses on people and how they move with the basic values of top-class medical services, a humane approach and innovation. CYBATHLON also embodies these values.

«Outstanding performance made possible by brilliant innovations and close cooperation in a team – all in an effort to help people who need assistance – we are pleased to be able to support a project as meaningful as CYBATHLON by serving as a medical partner.» Andrea Rytz, CEO of Schulthess Klinik

This is how we are supporting CYBATHLON

As part of our comprehensive commitment, we are making our services available to CYBATHLON 2020 as a medical partner in particular. The medical partnership comprises medical checks for pilots to ensure safety and fair starting conditions. 

The medical checks

The pilots undergo a medical check before they can start competing in their discipline. The Schulthess Klinik medical team is responsible for the medical preparation for and implementation of these medical checks. In the new global format, we will assess each of the starting pilots in conjunction with a specialist on site via a remote examination. The specialists on site are carefully recruited in advance and briefed about the examination. Depending on the discipline, our medical team checks other aspects with the local specialists, including neurological tests in particular.

The medical checks ensure the safety of the pilots and guarantee fair starting conditions.

Impressions of the Medical Checks in the clinic and by remote examination.

The medical team

The medical team is led by the two neurologists Prof. Jiří Dvořák and Dr Zina-Mary Manjaly. They both have extensive experience in clinical work directly with patients as well as in scientific research activities. 

Thanks to Schulthess Klinik’s interdisciplinary approach, they frequently exchange ideas with other specialist departments at Schulthess Klinik. Surgical and conservative disciplines, as well as internal medicine and research, go hand in hand with neurology and can be consulted if required, including for the CYBATHLON medical checks.

Neurology: a close look at nerves

Our musculoskeletal system would come to a standstill without a functioning nervous system. This is why close cooperation between orthopaedic surgeons and neurologists is essential.

The specialists in our Neurology department offer the full range of neurology diagnosis and treatment services. Along with addressing common neurological conditions, our team also conducts complex interdisciplinary assessments and treatments. In particular, the complex structure of the spine requires close examination of the sensory nerve pathways. This is why the Neurology department at Schulthess Klinik has been focusing on it extensively since the 1980s. Patients benefit from joint assessments by Spine Surgery and Neurology as they enable our physicians to select a conservative and/or surgical treatment that offers the greatest chance of success.

MIOM ensures a high degree of safety when spine surgery is performed

The multimodal intraoperative monitoring (MIOM) procedure utilised by our Neurology department makes an important contribution to ensuring the safety of patients who undergo spine surgery. With MIOM, we monitor the nervous system during the procedure and support the patient through complex operations with the greatest possible degree of safety.

Research and teaching for the patients

Innovation and documentation are needed to make patient treatments even better and safer and this is why Schulthess Klinik has a long tradition in research activities.

Our Teaching, Research and Development department works together with the clinic’s other departments, and the scientific work the department carries out helps improve patient care. The department’s research teams work closely with physicians at the clinic. Our patients benefit from the resulting exchange of scientific information, which is incorporated into everyday clinical practice at our facility. We also share our knowledge with colleagues in Switzerland and abroad through our publications, teaching activities and partnerships, as our goal is to continually expand the possibilities offered by orthopaedic medicine.

Quality also means always knowing how the patient is doing. That is why we stay close to our patients at Schulthess Klinik – even after their treatment has been completed, as we want to know how they are doing then as well. Our long-standing tradition of research also includes more than 136,000 patient surveys that have been conducted since 2004. These surveys help us ensure that treatments can continue to be made even better and safer.

Find out more about our research.


The Wilhelm Schulthess Foundation

Schulthess Klinik has been supported by the non-profit Wilhelm Schulthess Foundation since 1935. People, their mobility and quality of life are at the heart of our day-to-day work. We devote all our energy to providing our patients with the best possible care and ensuring their quick recovery. We are also helping to make treatments better and safer with our long-standing tradition of research.

In our role as a foundation, we invest heavily in the fields of teaching and R&D, and thus support the projects undertaken by our research teams. 

Find out more about the Wilhelm Schulthess Foundation

Cooperation between Schulthess Klinik and ETH Zurich

We maintain a long-standing research and teaching partnership with ETH Zurich which incorporates clinical questions into the research performed by ETH and in this manner promotes the use of new technologies when treating patients with musculoskeletal problems. 

For example, we are pleased to be part of the Reha Initiative that is designed to improve the quality of life of people with physical limitations and enable them to take part in normal daily activities as much as possible. In order to improve research in this area, ETH has launched the new Master’s degree programme in Rehabilitation Science and Technology. The Wilhelm Schulthess Foundation is funding a professorship for Data Science Applications for Personalised Health Services, which is part of this Master’s programme.

The partnership with ETH also involves numerous courses taught by our specialists. For example, researchers and doctors from Schulthess Klinik hold a Demonstration Week to introduce the topic of «Clinical Research» to students in ETH's Department of Health Sciences and Technology. The course on «Physical Examination of the Musculoskeletal and Nervous System» is available at Schulthess Klinik for students in the Human Medicine programme.

We are delighted to be part of CYBATHLON 2020 as a partner in another exciting and significant ETH project.