1. Tell us what made you choose Physiotherapy? Did you already have an inclination, or someone inspired you to take up Physiotherapy?
I have been interested in medical science since my junior college days as my elder sister works in an ICU, one of her best friends suggested that I take up Physiotherapy. It was when I thought I would be able to fulfill my dream of being close to sports by taking up sports Physiotherapy as my career.
2. Why Sports Physiotherapy became your choice for PG?
Since my childhood I was always a sports enthusiast, I used to play cricket at a professional level but then unfortunately I was injured and had to quit playing. Since then I decided to opt for something in my career that will keep me close to the playing ground or sports. That’s how I decided to be a sports physio where I can not only understand the players physically but also the psychological aspect.
3. Tell us about your on-field experiences.
The most important and crucial part of being an on-field physio is ‘Decision Making’. Especially in a football match you hardly get a few seconds to assess an injured player and decide whether he can continue to play or to be substituted; this is where your experience comes into picture. Personally I have not only come across musculoskeletal injuries on-field but also incidents of open wounds with bleeding, concussion, severe cramps, various types of fractures and dislocation etc. so it’s always a challenging experience to work in a football Team.
4. What are the qualities of a good Team Physio?
While Working in a team sport the important components are man (players) management and maintaining injury data. One should be thoroughly aware about every player's past injuries as well the present status. This will help to design an appropriate plan and give necessary individual attention towards the player. One of the key factors which is often missed is ‘Communication’ between the coaches and physio. Timely information about the player’s status and availability will help the team to function smoothly.
5. Which player have you closely worked with for post-injury Rehabilitation?
I have been working with the National team and Kerala Blasters FC players for their rehabilitation but Sandesh Jhingan, national team centre back was one to remember. He had an surgery on his knee. It was a challenge to get him back fully fit on the pitch focusing on his range , strength, correction of imbalances and later his endurance and return to play components. Educating him about the importance of every exercise and to understand his body helped to recover within the appropriate timeline.
6. Football, being a contact sport, how important is injury prevention and Prehab?
Football is a high intensity game and injuries go hand in hand. Recent evidence show that Hamstring strains, ACL sprain/tear, ankle sprains are few of the most common injuries seen. You should know the player’s history of injuries, any surgeries, scar etc and plan the program accordingly to prevent any reinjury and help maintain strength. I follow a team injury prevention program before training sessions focusing on mobility, stability, flexibility and activation to prepare the muscles and joints for the load. I have seen there is a vast dip in the rate of injuries in the last 5-7 years with proper prevention programs.
7. What message would you like to give to the young Physios willing to come in this field?
Sports physio or being an on-field physio doesn’t remain restricted to certain approaches or applications whereas it is an extensive field where you should have a holistic look for players injury prevention, rehabilitation, nutrition and psychological factors. So never look for shortcuts, try to have hands-on experience as much as possible to assess injuries, learn to communicate with players and explain to them about the injury and ways to prevent it. Most importantly is to learn to have a thorough assessment before rushing out for the treatment.