In today’s stressful life that many of us lead, a physiotherapist is a key to a pain-free physique
Early Life, Childhood and Education
I was born and raised in South Mumbai. I studied at St Xavier’s High School, Fort (SSC) and opted for Science at St Xavier’s College, Fort, Mumbai (HSC), after which I moved to Bangalore to join Garden City College of Physiotherapy (BPT). I worked in Mumbai for two years after graduating and then moved to the UK to read for an MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine at the University of Nottingham.
I was lucky to have an all-round development growing up. Sports were at the heart of my growth and I excelled at extra-curricular activities.
What made you get into physiotherapy and choose it as a profession?
I really liked biology as a subject and was good at it. The interesting fact is that my first preference within the Health Sciences was Physiotherapy and from the day I joined, I knew I wanted to be a Sports Physio. Being an athlete myself I recall going to see a doctor about a heel pain when I was about 11 years old and his two-minute advice allowed me to go back to training within 3 days. Also having lived with my grand-parents, one of who had suffered a stroke and the other severe osteoporosis, we had physios in and out of the house so I was well aware of the impact this profession had on people’s quality of life and road to recovery.
How were your early years in the practice and profession?
After completing my internship at Sir H. N. Hospital and subsequently graduating, there was a period during which I was looking for a sports centre to work at and gain experience. I needed two years of work experience to be able to apply to the Sports Medicine Masters programme in Nottingham, UK that I had already set my sights on. I joined Prakruti Sports Science and Physiotherapy Clinic in Mumbai and I recall the first day and my first patient that I assisted with was an IPL cricketer who got injured during the tournament and had come to Mumbai to recover. My mentors were brilliant with the knowledge and guidance that they imparted and with the patients they treated; I was able to work with professionals at the highest level and learn lessons for life.
What was your experience working with professional sports?
My journey as an on-field sports physio started out in Nottingham, UK where I volunteered at the BUCS Inter University Sports and I worked primarily with Rugby. Thereafter, I covered home matches for a local rugby club, Nottinghamians RFU and did a two-month internship with British Swimming working with Olympic athletes and world record holders.
When I returned to Mumbai, my goal was to continue to work with professional sports and I was recruited by Sporting Clube de Goa where I worked for 3 seasons. I joined Mumbai City FC as the physio for the second season if the ISL and in season three of the ISL, I took the opportunity to work with FC Goa and although the team didn’t do too well, the medical team was successful in having every player fit for selection on the last day of the league – something that coach Zico highlighted and applauded in his last team talk.
Working with professional athletes is very rewarding when they win, challenging when they are injured and disheartening when they lose; but as a physio I have learned how to maintain a neutral demeanour so as to keep the athlete focussed on recovery for the next performance.
What is the Importance of physiotherapy in today’s day and age when most people live a sedentary life?
I think the human body is a piece of art and for the most part each person is responsible to keep it well. I work out of Elite Physio Clinic at Campal, Panjim where the mantra is “we keep you moving”. Movement of our joints and muscles in their complete ranges is so important so keep degenerative conditions at bay. The typical complaints of low back pain and neck pain have a lot to do with being in one position for a prolonged time while either working or driving or standing and cooking or gaming or most recently using the mobile phone. I would say physiotherapy in the form of simple body movement, core strengthening, guidance about safe and correct exercise and advice on how to generally be more active goes a long way to fight aches and pains and to make one functionally independent.
What are the aspects of work that excite you the most?
Like anyone in healthcare watching someone recover and go back to leading an independent life or watching them take the field again or be finally pain free gets me most excited and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Having worked in sports and always fighting a clock to get the athlete back to full fitness, I always aim to help patients recover as quickly as possible and I use a variety of tools, techniques and therapies to achieve that.
Cases that remains etched in memory.
As an Indian sports physio, when you work with someone like Sachin Tendulkar, especially at a time when he was an active professional cricketer there is no greater experience you can ask for! I worked with him for about 20 sessions between 2009-10 and treated multiple injuries and as you can imagine he was one of the easier people to work with. I also recall working with Rugby in the UK where there were three bleeding noses simultaneously as the game doesn’t stop for injuries. I remember running across the field from one player to the next to stop the bleeding. I was lucky to have the Red Cross on site to help with the third player.
What is your success mantra for youngsters?
I would say set your sights on a target and work towards it and when opportunity comes your way grab it. It doesn’t always have to be about the remuneration because when you like what you do and you’re driven from within you will eventually be successful.
What are the plans that you have been dreaming about?
I feel that my working career is at a point where I’m constantly looking for opportunities to learn new techniques, to discuss ideas and use new systems to work towards better patient care and faster recovery.
Working with Elite sports abroad has always been something I have been keen on and if I do get the opportunity, eventually being able to transfer some of that know-how and organized processes back home to India is something that I would look forward to