Post Covid-19 complications may halt Surender Kumar return to Indian hockey

The chances of India defender Surender Kumar taking the field when the hockey competition resumes in 2021 has become slim because of post Covid-19 complication.
Surender Kumar in action.(Getty Images)
Surender Kumar in action.(Getty Images)
Updated on Sep 18, 2020 11:16 AM IST
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New Delhi | By

The chances of India defender Surender Kumar taking the field when the hockey competition resumes in 2021 has become slim because of post Covid-19 complication at this moment. Kumar, along with five other hockey players including skipper Manpreet Singh, tested positive for virus in August when an Olympic preparation camp resumed at Bengaluru.

While the other five recovered, Kumar was readmitted to hospital as he had blood clotting or Venous Thrombosis (VT) in his right arm. Mandeep Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar and goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak were the others, who tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Ashok Ahuja, former head of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports medicine department, restrain in training load is the most important aspect of recovery and rehabilitation as possibility of VT will increase with strenuous physical exercise. “Firstly he (Kumar) should be under constant monitoring for next three to six months. Secondly to avoid micro clotting circulating in the system he might have to take blood thinner,” Ahuja said.

“It means Kumar wouldn’t be able to resume tough regimen in coming months where heart rate goes beyond 200 beat per minute in training.

The Hockey India, in a statement said, the athletes are slowly getting back to sports activity, but didn’t share details on how and when players would resume match fitness or high intensity training. “SAI is preparing a policy so we are unable to formally comment,” Elena Norman, Chief Executive Officer of HI said. “SAI is putting together a policy for all athletes for all sports regarding their return to sports. It is best to check with them.”

SAI’s director general Sandip Pradhan, didn’t respond to text messages or phone call. The SAI, though, has put in place Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to enter training centres under its jurisdiction, but yet to announce training and rehabilitation protocol for those who have tested positive for Covid-19.

At the SAI’s Sonepat training centre, the men’s wrestling camp started recently as 14-day quarantine period is over said Vinod Tomar, assistant secretary of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The four wrestlers who had tested positive for Covid-19 including Deepak Punia, who had earned Olympic quota in 86kg freestyle event, will join the camp only after getting approval from medical experts. Punia, according to Tomar was discharged from hospital and was in home quarantine since September 6.

“He should join camp from September 21,” Tomar added. “Covid19 patients might take months to regain lost fitness and achieve top performance. All physical activity has to be very gradual,” Ahuja said. “Taking antioxidant and immune booster supplements are beneficial.”

Deepak Natarajan, a Noida based cardiologist says those having tested positive can suffer serious problems including persistent inflammation of heart (Myocarditis). “The athletes should take a break,” Natarajan said. “The officials should ensure there is regular check-up. If cardiac MRI shows inflammation then the athlete has to wait before resuming training. The comeback has to be very gradual. Officials and athletes have to be cautious in its approach to resume match fitness.”


    Navneet Singh, who has been a journalist for 15 years, is part of the Delhi sports team and writes on Olympic sports, particularly athletics and doping. .

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