I realized I could find happiness in moments even without sports which I earlier thought was an absolutely ridiculous idea

Picture: Ella Kiviniemi


Saana Koljonen injury

I went from a professional athlete to a bed patient in one day. A long story short: I got a nasty bacterial infection in my ankle while I was living my dream and playing professional volleyball in France. I had to go through four surgeries, 4 months in bed and a pretty surreal life change.

I stayed sane by staying active, not physically but mentally. I made learning my most important task. I listened to tons of podcasts (have loved them for years), read books and articles, watched educational tv-shows, documentaries, took online classes and started working for Extended DISC Finland/Finxs Global basically from my bed in Finland.

Fast forward. Right now I am living in Denver, coaching volleyball at Colorado University of Boulder as a volunteer coach and working with the Sports Capacity Assessment we created, selling it in Europe and now also in the USA.  

Why this story?

Because it illustrates me. I got knocked down and I found new purpose in pursuits that matter to me. It taught me that I can always trust my ability and will to learn, adjust, fight my way back and create a future worth living even if I don’t have a functioning body. 

Libero volleyball national team

This notion is much deeper than just ”I am hard working” etc… It means that those are my core functions and that is who I am : persistent, driven, adjusting, optimistic, forward looking and moving. Additionally, getting the Sports Capacity Assessment to the markets shows that I am capable of creating content that is supported by professionals in the field. That was nice to notice and a very practical reminder that volleyball is not all that there is.

Now I also know that I want to help 

a) athletes

b) coaches 

c) teams

who might be struggling with their identity, feeling lost or not connected with their team/coach/players, want to dig deeper to get higher, by making them more aware of their own natural competencies, (it is about harnessing them and working deliberately), as well as enhance the communication between coaches and athletes. 

In my big dreamy vision, people know better who they are and how to thrive while being authentically themselves. 

So when sports is over for some reason, the transferring from sports to other parts of life is also easier and smoother.

“You are the most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were


Lastly, my previous passion, volleyball, taught me tremendously on and off the court. All the international experiences have strengthened my natural abilities to get along with people, understand them and their differences in order to better support them to maximize their potential as well as mine.

That is what I want and aim to do in the future as well.


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