Conference on sports medicine provides enlightening moments

CHENNAI, NOV. 15. It was meant to be a platform for specialists from various branches of sports medicine to interact and share their experiences and sure enough the conference here on Wednesday on `Challenges in New Millenium: International standards in the treatment of sports injuries' provided enlightening moments and lively discussions.

A brain child of Dr. David V. Rajan and Dr. Sripati Rao, orthopaedic specialists as a way to disseminate knowledge on the developments in the field of Sports medicine, the one-day conference brought in among others three experts from abroad--Dr. Mark Fergusson, Dr. Dann Duplessis (both from South Africa) and Dr. Alwyn Jager (Germany). Then there were Tushar P. Mankad and Dr. Bharath Mody, two enterprising doctors from Baroda and also Dr. Swati Piramal, who took in her stride a serious affliction of arthritis to pioneer not only an awareness for sports medicine in India but patent a medication for the disease.

``Ten years ago, I did not get 10 people for a sports medicine session'', Dr. Swati had mentioned in her presentation and indeed with a packed hall of nearly 250 people drawn from various facets of sports administration, the awareness for sports medicine had come a long way. More revealing were the questions posed with one delegate wanting to know why the specialists should not arrange for actual demonstration of the various rehabilitation excercises that they had explained for bringing an athlete back to competition, so that trainers and coaches could impart the same correctively to their wards.

Expectedly there was much focus on the foreign specialists, in particulary Dr. Mark Fergusson, whom cricket enthuasiasts will remember as the man who helped Javagal Srinath to overcome his rotator cuff problem. He came into focus not only for the fresh questions he posed in the field of sports injuries but for the surprise visitor he had even before he took the podium. None other than Anil Kumble, the ace spinner, who opted out of the Test series against Zimbabwe on account of a painful shoulder condition, dropped in to be examined by him. It is understood that the national selector, T.A. Sekhar, who was himself present, was instrumental in arranging this appointment.

Dr. Fergusson was initially unwilling to give information, stating that Kumble wanted it that way. But when asked if the problem was similar to what Srinath had, the leading South African expert said that ``yeah, more or less. It is something that has surfaced now''. ``I have already talked to Andrew (Leipus, the Physio of the Indian team) and given instructions'', Dr. Fergusson added without elaborating. Pressed further, he said ``I will be coordinating with Andrew on this''. But Kumble, as he quickly left the place after the brief stay, was confident that ``I will be ready for the one-dayers against Zimbabwe''.

But the South African expert was in his element in his lectures as he discussed the problems of groin injury and how more research needs to be done to tackle this common problem among athletes and sports persons competing at high levels as also when he examined the areas that a trainer should recognise to help prevent shoulder injuries among sportspersons. Dr. Duplessis threw light on the rehabilation procedures pertaining to knee injuries while Dr. Jager, who hails from Frankfurt dwelt on the role of arthroscopy in acute shoulder dislocations and preventive aspects of shoulder injuries.

The Indian experience was narrated by Dr. Mody, Dr. Mankad as also the organisers of the programme, Dr. David Rajan and Dr. Sripathi Rao. On the whole it was a thought provoking excercise and an insight into the wonders of sports medicine.

Dr. Mark Fergusson (second from left) who inaugurated the orthopaedic sports medicine conference in Chennai on Wednesday. Dr. David V. Rajan (extreme left), Indian cricket star Anil Kumble and Dr. Sripathi Rao also seen.