In conversation with SAHAL ABDUL SAMAD The Game Changer

1. How were you introduced to Football?

Our family is a Sports-connected family. My father was a Volley-ball player, although not professionally and my brother also used to play Volleyball. Football came with my elder brother, and with me. I was very  
much impressed with football and used to watch matches back-to-back. When my brother used to play in the team, I always tried to go to watch the game. That’s how I got introduced to Football and started with School team.

2. How were your initial training days?

In my initial training days, I didn’t know much about behind the scenes of Football. I only knew about the players, the play but didn’t know about Physio, gym, training. Slowly I started getting knowledge about that and realised the importance of it all. Initially the facilities were not this excellent. 

3. Did you face any injuries that led to making your participation in matches difficult?

Yes, there were a couple of times where I sustained some injuries just before the league matches. Sometimes I had to miss crucial games, but you must respect the body showing signs and that the injury doesn’t worsen or could be fatal for the career. At the same time when I feel some niggle, I would always take the opinion from my physiotherapist and after his assessment if he gives me heads up, I really don’t bother and play without a doubt. 

4. When did you have your first interaction with Team Physio?

Since I started my career in football there was always a physiotherapist in the team helping for the players. But I didn’t seek much help normally unless I had some pain or difficulty in training. But over the last 4-5 years, visiting the physio room and getting regular assessment done has become a routine for me as I realised how important it is for the body to be balanced and injury free to prevent time loss from the competition or training.

5. How did Physiotherapy help you get back on field?

I have been working for the past 4 years with our physiotherapist Pratik Kamble, who has been working with the national team and Kerala blasters FC. Whenever I sustained any injury or mild niggle, they check me thoroughly and not only the injured part but if there is some imbalance or look for the root cause of it. They explain me well to understand the extent and nature of injury and help clear all my doubts. They will make modified plans like pool sessions, gym rehab exercises and treatments. Also make sure my body doesn't go in deconditioning and maintain the endurance as possible. Regular monitoring on my diet and body fat testing is carried out to keep me in check. Once I am pain free and confident with enough strength, I will go through a set of tests to see if I am ready. 

6.Do you think Indian Physios are equally talented as their foreign counterparts?

Yes, I believe completely that they are as good as foreign physios. To my experience the manual therapy skills and assessment, also the depth of knowledge they have is tremendous. 

7. Share your experiences with KERALA BLASTERS?

Since I started playing football, I had a wish to play for my home state. And I feel immensely grateful that my first professional club is Kerala Blasters FC. The journey so far has been very rewarding and has taught me a lot. The club owners, medical and coaching staff, the fans, and everyone has given a lot of support and encouragement. 

8. Who has been your Inspiration in Indian Team as well as internationally?

Obviously, the first person who is the inspiration of every football player is Sunil bhai, the hard work that he does, diet, nutrition, Physio everything is inspirational. There are many other players, like Anas edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan, whom I admire.

9. What is your opinion about the scope of Physiotherapy as in career?

During my early school days, I was brought up in Dubai and science was my primary subject so honestly, I had a dream of becoming a physiotherapist but later when I moved to India I had to opt for commerce and then life had different plans for me. The career as a physiotherapist is the need of the hour for sports in India. Every athlete from the academy until the elite level should know the importance of physiotherapists.

10. What do you think is the importance of Physiotherapist in the team?

It is exceptionally beneficial to have a physiotherapist with the team. Games like football which is a contact sport, and every training session or match is quite intense, and players are prone to get injured. But with the physiotherapist in a team helps us to be at ease and monitor our health regularly.




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