Fine and Fit

Ayan  Acharya
NSoJ Bureau

For any sport, fitness is paramount. To be able to push the limits , and summon every ounce of strength in the body, players ought to be mentally and physically on top of their fitness chart.

“When you become fit , you feel you can do anything,” India cricket captain Virat Kohli had said during a promotional event. Nimble-heeled Kohli’s ability to churn out runs in all three formats of the game is a testament to the time he has put in remaining fit and healthy.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic went from frequent meltdowns during matches to the number one tennis player in the world, “armed with a new health regime.”

There are similar instances in different sports where developing ‘strength, power and mass’ has been the key to success.

At Sports Science India (SSI), Bhubaneswar, a team of doctors , physiotherapists , nutritionists, fitness experts and dermatologists work in tandem towards their motto: “prevent injury, and prolong career.”

SSI is the brainchild of Capt. Dr. Sarthak Patnaik ,a sports and arthroscopic surgeon from India. “Whenever I used to interact with the players, I felt a gap between them and a surgeon,” Patnaik said.  “We have coaches, team-managers and then comes the doctor. To bridge this gap I started reaching out to these players, to better understand the problems they faced, in an attempt to prevent the injuries from happening.”

Patnaik , who also specializes in sports psychology, has delivered several lectures on how to mentally prepare for a game. “During my fellowship, I had the opportunity to interact with players like Jacques Kallis, Pat Symcox and Jonty Rhodes . With that experience in mind, I decided to start SSI,” he said.

With injury absence being a common thing, life of an athlete
involves plenty of pain and sprain. A broken finger, stress fracture in foot, sore shoulder – there’s an entire gamut of injuries that plagues a player’s preparation.

According to Dr. Sudip Banerjee, Sports Medicine specialist and Sports Physiotherapist, SSI , “A lot of these [SSI] athletes come from rural areas. They are unaware of the right alignment for various exercises and their advantages. The main challenge is to teach them that exercise is the best protocol to prevent injuries.”

Banerjee, who has also traveled with the India U-19 cricket team, narrates his experience. “In cricket, fast bowlers may want to work on their speed and agility whereas a batsman may want to improve his/her core strength to play longer innings. Different individuals have different demands. To enhance their performance, we focus on prehab exercises.”

World no. 1200, Anshu Kumar Bhuiya, has been training at SSI for a week and thinks there has been a change in his approach towards fitness. “The coaches here are really professional. We have a fixed workout regimen. They monitor our fitness levels and make [training] schedules accordingly. It has proved to be of great help.”

The penetration of SSI’s medical cover is widespread and includes one of the most challenging ultra marathons in the world, La Ultra, Indian blind cricket team, and National Weightlifting Championship.

“My team and I, we tap the local areas to identify players who need our facilities. We contact their coaches because they generally have a fair idea of where their players stand in terms of training and fitness. Once we have enrolled a player we try and contact others through him/her,” Patnaik said.

“Sports is the most essential part of our day-to-day life. I request people to not take their fitness lightly and reach out to experts/organization who can help them. Always try and stay fit,” he signed off.

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