From Basketball to Bobsleigh, Alex Won’t Let Her Ulcerative Colitis Stop Her

Alexandra Klein in her bobsled uniform

In 2017, Alexandra (Alex) Klein was at the top of her basketball career when she began to feel something wasn’t right.

While playing basketball in Luxembourg, she decided to come home to Canada to try and figure out what was going on with her body. 

“It was very difficult, because I didn’t know what was going on with my body. It wasn’t just the typical cold or a normal sickness that you might have. And even though I made friends with my teammates, you are still quite alone and across the world from your family. I just remember calling my mom and being like, ‘something’s wrong.’ The symptoms aren’t normal. I’ve never had them before.”

Eight months later she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

It’s not uncommon for an athlete to take this news as a death sentence to their career - to pack it in and focus on another career path.

The cards dealt to Alex were played a little differently.

She used her diagnosis as inspiration to create her coaching website – – a program designed to provide women with macronutrient and fitness advice. Since then, she has also expanded into business mentorship.

That’s not all her diagnosis led her to. As destiny would have it, she was introduced to someone affiliated with Canada’s national bobsleigh team and eventually decided to attend a testing camp for the sport.

Despite being new to the sport of bobsleigh, Alex found success, now having completed her second season. Alex brought home a handful of medals, including two golds, through her first North American Circuit in the two-person bobsleigh.

She now has her eyes set on the World Cup and World Championships next season, and of course, the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina.

How does Alex handle the stress of living with colitis and being an athlete constantly on the road?

“Routine. Structure. Organization as much as possible. We’re at the track for hours on end, travel internationally and don’t know our schedules until last minute. As you can imagine I've had to adapt and be okay with getting uncomfortable with this lifestyle. 

With that said, I make sure to have enough medication and supplements to last me for my travels. I have certain snacks in my bag that are easy to digest at all times - applesauce is a good one. I also make sure to keep communicating “x times/week” with loved ones because that can be forgotten about and is important for general well-being while traveling and competing.”

*Advice for those facing a similar situation or contemplating a pivot?

“Give yourself grace. Just keep doing your best. Doing the little things to take care of yourself and your body adds up.

Also, I genuinely believe that if you prioritize your personal development, treat people with kindness, speak to yourself with loving words, it can have a really positive impact. If we judge others, think negative thoughts constantly, speak down to people... the list goes on. There can be negative impacts. These things matter a lot more than we think and the body reacts accordingly. I'm not saying this can "heal the disease." I’m saying it can create a significantly healthier lifestyle for you though.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Alex’s story, follow along via her social media @its.alexklein !


  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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