He lived victories, then illness and depression. Today, former Stade Tolousain rugby player David Berty touches his shoulders again with the heights. Specifically Kilimanjaro, which has risen this week. A feat for the athlete with multiple sclerosis.
Meter after meter, step by step, David Berty approaches his goal. He even has it in sight. Mount Kilimanjaro and its highest point will soon be climbed with 5,895 meters. “Fatigue made me lose track of time. When I saw this panel coming, I unconsciously accelerated. I threw myself at him, I almost bumped into him.
Like an electric shock, David Berty collapses in front of the Kilimanjaro sign. Part of his team is already there. “I burst into tears. Vanessa Morales stayed with me. We cried for a while and then we hugged with all my teammates,” the athlete recalls. From the diagnosis of her illness to the highest peak in Africa , David Berty has known many paths.
Glory then anguished
Head of champion series, he joined the Stade Tolousain at 17 years old. 1989, 1994, 1996 … The different titles follow one another. The lively and fast end is even part of the stadium’s first generation of European champions. But victories also come with some setbacks. The athlete also knows several physical faults: “Without understanding why my form has gone down. The injuries followed one another without explanation.
Frustrated, the first-rate athlete no longer understands his body. In 2002, doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis. “It simply came to our notice then. It was finally an explanation for all these wounds. It was later that it became more complicated “, testifies David Berty.
The talented extract from the Stade Toulousain sinks into a depression: “I spent 3 years with the fear of the chair. Then I realized I had to fight. I did a lot of things to fight and not give up. Then I discovered wheelchair rugby. I discovered people with other illnesses, and they made me understand that it was useless to fight. We had to live with that. ” Since 2007, David Berty has been helping people with the same disease, especially as a sponsor of the Association Française des Sclérosés en Plaque.
A single goal: Kilimanjaro
Meeting Vanessa Morales will change everything. Holder of the record for ascent to Kilimanjaro, this native of the Haute-Garonne regularly participates in community life. “One day, I was hiking with former athletes. He told me he was doing a new climb with them. He asked me to be part of that team. I didn’t have time to doubt, “said David Berty. Then begins a long phase of physical preparation. Kilimanjaro goal.
And the deadline comes quickly. A few months later, the small group embarked for Tanzania. For David Berty, the first two days of promotion are bearable. The third is more complicated. The former rugby player begins to doubt: “I thought for a moment that I could not continue. In the evening, one of the people in the group showed me a video. There were my family and friends. They encouraged me. Thanks to this video I had forgotten all the pains of that day “.
After reaching the top and the joys of this success, comes the descent. An especially difficult episode for David Berty who suffered days of fatigue and physical sequelae. “The team helped me and they even took me to the bunk at times. It was very complicated. I had to trust the people around me. I’m happy, I lived the adventure to the end. The experiment has been done, the summit has been climbed. “But what counts is above all the path taken,” concludes the champion.