“Working with a sports team and treating patients in OPD are two completely different things”, says second year MPT student Maitri Gala, who recently had the opportunity to serve as a team physiotherapist at the National Volleyball Coaching Camp and the Asian Volleyball Championship for U-20 female athletes. Elaborating further on the experience, she adds, “Being a physio for a team is a full time job, you cannot predict when the athletes will come to you with the smallest of things like, nausea, or stomach pain or even knee and back pain, you have to be real quick but also have patience”.
She goes on to explain what the training sessions were like - almost 3 hours of training sessions, twice a day and 5 days a week, and only one day in between kept for recovery. “Sometimes, with their jam packed training schedule, managing time for rehab was a task! players don’t just have one injury, they’ll usually be dealing with multiple injuries at a time”.
While talking about on-season and off-season rehabilitation, she says they have to be on their toes when matches are coming in thick and fast. “Sports rehabilitation comes with a lot of responsibilities. It isn’t just about the body, but about the mind too. Regaining confidence after an injury is really difficult and these sessions are usually there to help with the confidence and the body too!”
In her own words, all that Maitri has experienced in the events has not only nourished her career but has also helped in fostering growth as an individual. Getting so much exposure at such a young age is something Maitri is grateful for. “I have learnt a lot. I know patience now, and have learnt about professional and personal boundaries with the players and coaches. You see, there are times when you have to have a professional relationship with the players and there are also times when you need to have a friendly approach, that’s how they’ll open up, that’s how they’ll talk about their problems.”
Concluding our conversation, Maitri shares a personal experience that she’ll always remember. “A couple days before the finals, 3 players got injured. They had almost lost hope, but patience and faith kept them going. They were patient throughout their rehabilitation. They had faith in me, but most importantly, they had faith in themselves”.