Chennai: The Indian hockey team is still trying to figure out who fills in for Jugraj Singh as the penalty corner specialist. Meanwhile the Federation has decided to send Jugraj abroad for physiotherapy. And that, it seems, is one of the problems in Indian sport - not enough qualified people to keep the sportspersons fit or take care of their injuries. The problem of ignorance is further compounded by lack of funds. Except for national sides, most teams cannot afford the luxury of a physiotherapist. But if cost-cutting is the motive, the result, unfortunately, has been the loss of several potential players. "We don't have expertise at the grass root level so potential national level players are lost even before they reach the state squad and before they reach the national squad," said Dr. Preeth John Cherian, a Physiotherapist. Woes abound Many players have had to retire prematurely. Like the case of Rajeev Mishra. He was India's star player in the '97 Junior National Hockey Championships. He damaged his knee in a camp prior to the World Cup in '98 and then he was not given proper examination, forcing him to go in for surgery. But he hurt his knee again in a match, rendering the last lethal blow to his career. While Mishra at least got a chance to perform on the international stage, many players disappear even before they are discovered. "If the right kind of technique or the physiotherapists were there at that particular time, maybe I would have continued to play for another three more years," lamented Balakrishnan, a former Basketball player. To get Jugraj Singh back in good playing form, medical care and good physiotherapy will be essential. However, physiotherapy in India is the preserve only of rich sports. And if this trend continues, we will lose many more players to injury than produce any.
Topics : Hockey