Purple and pink lights flash on the way to the modular operation theatres (OTs) equipped with devices for video and teleconferencing. Two integration devices, which help surgeons control all the gadgets in the room, overlook the bed in the OT. The digital units and flat screens fitted in the wall still look untouched.
This is the second floor of the newly opened Sports Injury Centre (Arthroscopy and Joint Disorders) at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Funded by the Union ministry of health and family welfare, the project cost Rs 70.72 crore.
State-of-the-art: One of the operation theatres at the new Sports Injury Centre. Ankit Agrawal/Mint
The centre’s director, Deepak Chaudhary, says the 35-bed centre with three OTs developed out of a small sports clinic at the hospital. “Sport is becoming increasingly competitive and the subject of sports injury is becoming more complex. A sports injury clinic was set up because of that and gradually patients started being referred from all over the country,” says Dr Chaudhary.
The centre, which has 15 dedicated doctors, also features a a physiotherapy unit, with a gym designed for post-operative rehabilitation. Ashu Kumar, a physiotherapist at the centre, says: “The rarest of these facilities is the technogym, which has cool-down features and shock-absorbers. The machine stops working if it detects that the user is having cardiac problems.”
Arvinder Pal Singh, a physiotherapist for the Indian wrestling team, says: “With major injuries, players had to consult different people at different places, after which one had to go to rehab. This centre offers everything under one roof.”
There is no denying the need for such a facility. Karnam Malleswari, Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) vice-president and India’s only Olympic bronze medal winner in weightlifting, shares a story: “In the Athens Olympics (2004), I was fighting for the gold medal when I had a back injury from which I couldn’t recover. A player’s career can end with a big or small injury.”
Boxer Akhil Kumar, who had two major wrist injuries, which were treated in Mumbai and South Africa respectively, voices other concerns. “An injury can demoralize any sportsperson. A doctor’s first responsibility should be to boost the morale of the patient and assure him/her of getting back to the sport soon. These things really matter a lot,” he adds.
The centre has two rehabilitation specialists and a sports psychologist for this purpose.
Footballer Bhaichung Bhutia also stresses that post-operative rehabilitation, both mental and physical, has been a major concern in India.
“I think there are good doctors,” he says, “It’s just the rehab portion—the kind of training, the kind of exercise you need to do to push back to fitness— (which) is definitely what you require more.”
The centre is expected to be fully operational from Friday, though a surgery has already been performed. Rohit Dubey, an under-16 cricket player who had a shoulder injury, was the first person to be operated here.