When a sportsman suffers a grievous, deadly injury on the field like Philip Hughes who was felled by a Sean Abbott bouncer or Raman Lamba who was struck on the skull by a powerful shot, we are always shocked and debate whether the sport can be made more safe for the players. All kinds of methods and inventions are discussed and remedies are provided. Hughes’ untimely death, unseemly as it was, has forced helmet manufacturers to provide newer versions of their products that now cover the back of the neck hopefully preventing a recurrence of such an event.
But when more and more players are felled by disease on the field (and myocardial infarction is simply a symptom of coronary heart and artery diseases), it is time to look at the reason behind its occurrence and question the immediate reaction that exercise itself is unsafe for individuals.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
An outsized reaction to medical tragedies on the field is unwarranted and unbecoming of informed, educated persons.
Rahul Sawant, a 34-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman with Dahisar Cricket Club suffered a heart attack on Sunday while playing in the Dr HD Kanga League.
He was rushed to Bombay hospital by his teammates which saved his life.
Speaking to DNA, his skipper Pravin Gogri said:
“He was also feeling suffocated and could not bare the pain. We gave him water, but it didn’t help. We could not find the doctors provided by the Mumbai Cricket Association. Then we rushed him to Bombay Hospital.The Kanga League (rule) book says there are doctors at various grounds, but we could not find one at Azad Maidan. God knows what would have happened had we reached (the hospital) late.”
Gogri’s teammate added:
“He doesn’t smoke or drink. He is a nice man and a good cricketer. Life is full of stress these days. Today’s youngsters lead an unhealthy life. They sleep late and have loads of stress. We have now started going back to playing Kanga League on wet wickets. This could cause injuries. The MCA should be prepared if something like this happens.
Sawant has spent Rs 40,000 already. Let’s hope he is out of danger. He is the only son of his parents. You never know what can happen. I am sure MCA can afford ambulances for emergency situations.”
The matter will be taken up by the MCA in the next managing committee meeting with a promise to provide the desired medical facilities for all players.
MCA Joint Secretary, Unmesh Khanvilkar, said:
“This is a rare case. Normally, injuries like cuts, bruises or sprains happen while playing cricket. Hence we have appointed physios and provided first aids at various points of the grounds. But this is something which is serious and we will have to look into it.
We have to come out with a solution to make facilities that could deal with something like this. Other than the physios who are already there, we will try to arrange doctors who can deal with these issues. Also, we will try to arrange ambulances at each centre including gymkhanas so they can be used during emergencies.”
Sawant, meanwhile, will undergo angioplasty to remove a couple of blockages in his heart.
The move by the MCA is welcome. Sportsmen definitely need doctors around to tend to them should they suddenly succumb to ailments on the field. Immediate medical attention, especially in the case of heart attacks and treatment such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make the difference between life and death.
But that is not the end of it.
Players , too , need to monitor themselves and their bodies and not overexert themselves after a tiring week at work or play.
More on that later….