The health umpires
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The health umpires

Who takes care of Sachin?s pain in the neck? Meet the specialists who put our stars on the road to recovery.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 03:34 IST

Yeah, we sure missed Sachin Tendulkar out there in the Caribbean as the West Indies made mincemeat of Team India in the series. The Little Master, who had to pull out of the tour due to a shoulder injury, is still recuperating with the help of Andrew Leipus, the former physio for the Indian team.

Sachin’s injury has brought the focus back on injured players who need to be rehabilitated in time if they are to return to a playing career. After all, it can make or break not just a player’s career but an entire nation’s hopes.

So, what is sports rehab all about? “It’s the next most important thing for a player after coaching,” says Badrinath Prathi, physical trainer with the Delhi District Cricket Association.

“It’s a science involving physiotherapy, nutrition and psychology,” he adds.

Prathi had helped Sania Mirza and VVS Laxman get back into action.

Sports bodies in India are provided with a specialist in sports medicine by the national authorities. But the opinion is divided on the standard of services in India.

Parmeet Singh of Rajasthan Cricket Association (who helped Ajay Jadeja) believes that India has “good surgeons and trainers to take care of the players.”

Agrees PS Chandran, sports medicine director, Sports Authority of India: “Even foreigners come here for treatment.” But Prathi feels that we “lack surgeons who specialise in sports related injuries.”

Is that the reason that cash-rich players (read cricket and tennis) prefer to go abroad for treatment, like Ashish Nehra and Leander Paes? Perhaps, but what about other sports? Says Singh: “Due to lack of funds, not all sports federations are able to provide a physio.”

In such a scenario, there is an immense scope for sports doctors in India. They can make between “two and five lakhs per annum,” says Singh.

“One is hired on contract, depending on the season,” he adds.

Sports doctors can also make a career out of treating lifestyle diseases. For instance, Gaurav Sharma, works with both players and models, keeping them in perfect shape.

First Published: Jun 01, 2006 03:34 IST