Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Focus: Why Does Sports Medicine Ail In India?

The passing away of Australian batsman Philip Hughes in an unfortunate on-field incident has triggered a lot of soul-searching among sports medicine doctors in Hyderabad and elsewhere in India. 

Most agree that the lack of a robust ecosystem for sports medicine in India has become a major roadblock to producing sportspersons who can sustain their game at the highest level for long. 

In recent times, a lot of sporting activity – in the form professional hockey, kabbadi, badminton, tennis, football and cricket leagues – has come up in India, but the medical support system is yet to fully develop. There is also the question of whether Indian sports medicine is prepared to handle such on-field incidents. 

“Sports medicine continues to remain in its infancy in India. We are eons away from countries like US, Australia, Europe and even South Africa, who have mastered this art. Unfortunately, not many have tried to understand sports medicine better in India. There is no research and the government body has let things go,” laments S. Bakhtiar Choudhary, well-known sports medicine specialist from Hyderabad. 

A big hurdle is that sports medicine is not an option at teaching hospitals. 

“None of the teaching hospitals in India offer a super-speciality course in this. There are a few diploma and certificate programmes, but there is no full-fledged separate branch for sports medicine,” points out Vijay D. Shetty, organising chairman of the Indian Association of Sports Medicine Conference that is being held in Mumbai in January. 

Sports medicine, also known as sport and exercise medicine, is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Essentially, sports medicine contains an array of specialities that include orthopaedics, physiotherapy, trainers, nutrition, biomechanics, training methods, rehabilitation and even psychologists. 

“There is no concerted support from governments and sports federations to develop a culture of sports medicine in India. Once injured, general public who dabble in sports to stay fit quickly lose interest,” points out K. Raghuveer Reddy of Sai Institute of Sports Injury and Arthroscopy. 
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