Who we are

Johan Bellemans

Prof. Dr. 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.

Kristof Smeets

Prof. Dr. Smeets

Knee and Sports Orthopaedics

Prof. Dr. K. 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 with internationally renowned knee surgeons at the North Sydney Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre (Sydney – Australia), the Mayo Clinic (Rochester - USA) and the Steadman Clinic (Vail - USA). Thereafter, he fine-tuned his knowledge and experience at ZOL Genk, where he was the fellow of Professor Bellemans during multiple years.

During this period he was also trained in musculoskeletal ultrasound. Currently as orthopedic surgeon, he is part of the Orthoteam Limburg, working at campus Jessa (Hasselt) and campus Vesalius (Tongeren).

Prof. Dr. Smeets did innovative research considering the ligamentous stability around the knee and successfully defended his doctoral thesis around this topic. He has been awarded the academic degree of doctor of (Bio)Medical Sciences at Universiteit Hasselt and KU Leuven.

Prof. Dr. Smeets is a member of the medical staff at the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC/COIB) and accompanies Team Belgium during international games. As team physician he covered national soccer teams of the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA). He is an active member of the Belgian Knee Society (BKS) and European Knee Society (EKS).

Roel Parys

Dr. 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-VIFIT Sport 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), 2016 (Amsterdam) and 2018 (Berlin) 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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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-Vifit 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 and Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics with the speed skating team around pro-athlete Bart Swings.

At this moment there is an intensive preparation of the athletes on the Road To Tokyo 2020.

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Joris Jellasics

Physical Therapy

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

Joris started his professional career as physical coach at the elite youth academy of Oud-heverlee Leuven and as sports physiotherapist at the sports department of UZ-Leuven. Here, he developed his first knowledge in sportsrehab and performance optimization.

Apart from guiding athletes in the clinic, Joris is also active at the Royal Belgian Football Association as physical coach of the U18 boys and as physiotherapist of the U19 girls. Furthermore, he is currently active as performance coach at the Flemisch Football Association.


Valentijn Deneulin

Physical Therapy

Valentijn Deneulin is MSc. Physical Education and Movement Sciences and MSc. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, with a specialisation in Sports Physiotherapy. At the moment, Valentijn is also specialising in Manual Therapy and Myofasciale Therapy.

In 2008, Valentijn started his professional career as a youth and rehabilitation coach at the elite youth academy of SV Zulte Waregem, before he became a physiotherapist and rehabilitation coach at the pro soccer team of Club Brugge KV, in 2013. Alongside his work in professional teamsport, he remained active in 2 private clinics, where he gave support to individual and team sport athletes. During the years spent here, he further developed his knowledge in sportsprevention, sportsrehab and return to sport and play.

As of 2021 Valentijn, started as a physiotherapist at GRIT, where he is involved in the day to day sportsrehabilitation and – prevention of athletes of different sports.


Lukas Debeer

Physical Therapy

Lukas Debeer is a MSc. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy with specialization in sports physiotherapy. He is a motivated team player and sport is the main theme in his life.

Lukas played football at elite level in OH Leuven and is now active in the triathlon team of Leuven (TDL).

In the near future he plans to follow a trainings schedule course for endurance athletes and a dry needling course. Currently he is doing the two-year course PG manual therapy in Leuven. His main interests are situated within endurance sports and football. For his master thesis, he examined the effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on pain and muscle adaptations in a population with anterior knee pain.

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Alana Lutz

Physical Therapy

Alana Lutz is a MSc Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy with a specialization in sports physiotherapy. She studied her Bachelor’s degree in her home country Canada, and her Master’s at KU Leuven. After graduating in 2020 she has since taken extra courses in dry needling, athletic hip and groin injuries and rehabilitation, and has taken a special interest in hand/wrist injuries.

Alana started her career in a private clinic seeing the general population for musculoskeletal issues. She then spent one year working in a sports injury clinic in Australia. Here she spent time as an on-field physiotherapist for Hockey NSW (Men’s state level), and Australian Cross Fit Championships. Following her passion for sports and an active lifestyle, Alana is excited to be working with the GRIT team in helping athletes of all abilities in their rehabilitation goals.

In addition to her physiotherapist role at GRIT, Alana will be taking on the Strength and Conditioning Coach role for injury prevention with the Women’s Football Academy (WFA) at the Top Sports School in Leuven.

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Esther Vanwijck

Physical Therapy

Esther is Msc. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, specialized in Sports Physiotherapy. In 2017 she also completed her postgraduate degree in manual therapy.

She started as a sports physiotherapist in 2014 at the Sports Medical Advice Center (SMAC) of UZ Leuven. She combined this with scientific research at the KULeuven into injury screening & prevention in elite volleyball players. Here she developed a strong evidence-based method of treatment that she has further developed in various sports during the last couple of years. In addition to GRIT, she currently also works at SPOR in Mechelen.

In her free time she plays ultimate frisbee at international level during the club season and in the Belgian national team.

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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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Koen Bellemans

Sports Performance + Personal Training

Koen Bellemans is MSc. Physical Education in training & coaching sprint/hurdling. He did an internship researching athlete monitoring in sprinting events. Koen competed in the 400m on a national level. Before he started competing in Track & field he played Football at KVK Tienen and OHL in second division.

In 2017 he started his career as a physical coach. He now coaches the U17 Flemish handball man, national level U23 tennis players and he also coached the national bobsleigh and skeleton team in 2019.

Besides these projects he also helps young adults with their questions around physical activity and fitness via the blog and YouTube channel FITFAQS.

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Inge Bellemans

Sports Performance + Personal Training

Inge Bellemans is Msc. in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, specializing in sports rehabilitation, and completed her postgraduate in Manual Therapy. In 2019 she completed her internship at 'the Narrabeen Sports Physio Clinic' in Sydney, Australia, where she worked with the national junior Rugby Sevens team.

Inge guided the young Belgian Blizzards during Intercontinental and Europa cups Skeleton in 2019 and is currently coaching several individual athletes in strength and conditioning.

As an athlete, she comes in action in athletics on the hurdles. In addition, Inge wants to get as many people active as possible via the online platform FITFAQS and by providing Personal Training.

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Silke Ghekiere

Sports Performance + Personal Training

Silke Ghekiere graduated as Master of Physical Education and Kinesiology at the University of Leuven, specialized in Physical activity and health. At the moment she’s finishing her Trainer B Sportclimbing diploma.

Silke started climbing at a young age. She has competed in national competitions lead and boulder. You can find her in the mountains to climb on the rocks during summer and she will be there snowboarding during winter.

She is also coaching the competition team of Klimclub Hungaria in Leuven, where she helps talented athletes to reach their personal goals.

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Jutta Decock

Sports Performance + Personal Training

Jutta is MSc. Physical Education in Physical activity, Fitness and Health. Currently she is doing her master's degree in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences with a specialization in Sports physiotherapy at KULeuven.

After her master's degree, Jutta decided to combine her further studies with a job as a group teacher and fitness instructor. She is also active as a youth trainer at the athletics club KAVR.

Jutta focused on the 400m hurdles as an athlete for several years. After a long injury, she recently traded in her beloved hurdles to focus on the 200m.

She is eager to pass on her passion for exercise to others by helping them develop a more active lifestyle.

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Michiel Baetens

Sports Performance + Endurance coaching

Michiel specialises in coaching endurance sports and provides training schedules and lactate testing in various disciplines.

Both recreational and elite athletes can find Michiel for guidance and coaching. He always looks for the ideal schedule for each athlete, opting for active communication during coaching. His training philosophy is based on the insights of exercise physiologist Jan Olbrecht.

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Robbe Van Dessel

Sports Performance + Personal Training

Robbe Van Dessel is Msc.in Physical Education and Kinesiology at the University Leuven, with a specialization in Physical activity, Fitness and Health.

His passion is to help people towards a better version of themselves, where efficient movement has a central role, so they can achieve all of their ambitions in- and outside of sports and /or fitness.

Robbe started his career as strength and conditioning coach for the Flemish Swimming Federation, which he still does with a lot of drive and enthusiasm. He has been involved with the physical preparation of athletes from multiple sports, but also a wide array of general population.

Since a young age he has been interested in combat sports. Having a background in boxing and Thai boxing, he now tries to expand his skills in MMA.


Karolien Rector

Sports Dietitian

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 and many other top athletes in the ‘smaller sports’. Recreational athletes can definitely consult her too for advice or guidance: anyone who is interested in Healthy Living and Sports Nutrition is more than welcome.


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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Thomas Deraedt

Orthotics, braces & technical orthopedics

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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Lieve Deckers

Health & Sports Management

Dr. Lieve Deckers has graduated as Medical Doctor at the KU Leuven. She has been working as a private General Practitioner and Family Doctor for more than 10 years.

Lieve is co-founder of the GRIT Belgian Sports Clinic, the ArthroClinic and the GRIT GYM.

From the beginning in 2014 Lieve has been managing the GRIT-team, our different facilities and affiliates.

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Samantha Kennes

Administrative assistant

From the beginning in 2014 Samantha has been the first contact for the patients, providing information and handling the files.

Since 2018 she is responsible for the secretarial support of the medical doctors.


Vicky Bervoets

Administrative assistant Physical Therapy

After more than 10 years of experience in the banking sector, Vicky successfully completed the training as a medical secretary in 2019.

Vicky has a great interest in sports and anatomy, followed a trainer's course and has been active as a basketball trainer and player for several years herself.

In May 2021 she started at GRIT Sports Clinic, where she is responsible for the management of appointments and administrative files for sports physiotherapy patients, as well as the organizational support of the physiotherapist practice.