The Kerala cricket team recently created history by entering the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy tournament beating Gujarat in the quarter-final. The star of the quarter-final match was fast bowler Basil Thampy.
During the start of the current season, Basil Thampy had suffered from a pain on a finger. According to the youth, he had no clue to how the pain started. He consulted several doctors but the cause was not identified. Nor was the problem solved. Finally, it was Sports Medicine specialist Dr Siddarth Unnithan who made the correct diagnosis and ensured that the pain vanished.
Injury is a part and parcel of sports. All sportspersons suffer some injury at least once during their career. However, most of them have no idea whom to approach for proper cure or how to do that. Often the injuries are attended to by any doctor. This sometimes leads to a situation where the injured player does not recover fully and cannot return to the field.
Sports Medicine can be defined as the medical field which treats as well as prevents all injuries caused by physical effort. Apart from sportspersons, anybody suffering injuries from physical tasks can consult a Sports Medicine specialist.
How are the injuries caused?
There are several causes for injuries other than by two players colliding with each other during an event. For instance, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar had been bothered by tennis elbow for long. It is a pain felt on the outside of the elbow which affects badminton players and people who work in the kitchen also. In fact, among non-sportspersons, this condition is most common among people who do kitchen chores. Tennis elbow occurs when the muscles and tendons in the forearm are strained. Another cause is improper use of the back and the joint on the arm.
Tennis elbow can be easily treated with medicines and light exercises. However, the condition may recur. Sports Medicine specialists become relevant in this situation. They identify the precise cause of the pain and offer treatment that prevents recurrence. The injuries will finally be treated with a joint effort involving many branches of medicine.
Screening for sportspersons
Recently, the death of a cricketer belonging to Kolkata while warming up for a match had created news. The cause of his death was found to be a heart attack.
It has been pointed out that players do not undergo the necessary medical tests before matches, leading to such incidents. In many European countries, rules stipulate that players should undergo medical screening before every match. They can enter the field only after the team Physician examines them and certifies that they are fit enough to play the match or game.
Heart attacks occurring on the field are fatal most of the time and screenings can prevent such tragedies.
Drugs and sports
Use of various drugs by sportspersons is a much-debated topic. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned several drugs, especially pain killers. However, the agency has allowed some other drugs. A Sports Medicine specialist would have a thorough knowledge of the banned as well as safe drugs.
Similarly, the use of some medicines are restricted during matches and allowed at other times. Sports Medicine practitioners have to be aware of these aspects also.
Even though the players are responsible for the drugs they use, the Sports Medicine specialists can give them proper guidance.
Sports Medicine specialists prevent and treat injuries caused by physical tasks. There is a tendency to confuse it with orthopaedics, but both are separate branches of medicine.
When normal treatment is given for injuries, matters often become worse. Sports Medicine, instead, finds the real cause of the problem and ensures that it does not recur. This helps the injured player make a full recovery and return to the field with renewed vigour.
Several sportspersons have abandoned their career owing to injuries and with the sporting scene becoming vibrant in India, the role of Sports Medicine specialists has become crucial.