The Indian national team camp is such a busy place that it’s hard to fathom that the clocks start ticking there even before the players snooze the morning alarms. The medical and support staff work relentlessly from the very morning to monitor the players’ medical reports. Let’s have a closer look at the responsibilities of the support staff in the camp.
The physios’ responsibilities
The head of the medical unit, Gigy George elaborated the screening process, “In the morning screening session, we check the range of the hamstring and the ankles and also the adductors. The wellness is also measured – the sleep, their soreness which allows us to gauge their readiness, and plan the treatment.”
Pratik Kamble, the physiotherapist, narrated, “We are one big family. We are doing our job at the backend. I work in close tandem with Gigy-sir and team doctor Dr. Shervin. Everyone in the set-up is chipping in, and backing one another. There’s no ego involved, everyone is so down to earth.”
The team doctor’s day at the office
The team doctor, Dr. Shervin Sheriff detailed, “The major lower limb structures are monitored every morning. The records are compared, and as and when the alarm bells ring, we plan accordingly.”
The players are strictly monitored, even when they’re not in the camp. The medical staff provide tailored programmes to everyone involved to help them stay in proper health. However, the regular ice-baths done at the stadium after training sessions or a match are no longer possible due to the pandemic.
“To prevent any chance of cross-infection, we have hence been doing the ice-baths at the respective hotel rooms, and in the respective bathtubs,” Dr. Sheriff explained
The manager at work
Himanshu Kharolia is the youngest support staff as well as the team manager. He bears a whole lot of responsibilities. It’s him who coordinates with the liaison officer to deliver the ice to the hotel rooms. Immediately afterwards, he would consult with the hotel’s General Manager over the arrangement of the meals. After that, he would contact the security-in-charge of the training site, scheduling match day movements. Quite naturally, it’s difficult to get through to him over the phone.
“I am grateful to the coach, technical staff, and senior support staff for all their support and guidance. They are there to help me whenever I require,” Himanshu quipped.
The team masseur Syed Liaqat Ali has become an indispensable part of the Indian national team camp. “I abide by the schedule set for me by Gigy-sir. The massage schedule is finalised taking into account the rest, recovery process, and the daily treatments,” Liaqat explained his job.
He further gestured, “There are so many sacrifices involved. There have been instances of me spending Ramadan at home but Eid with the team. Earlier my family used to accuse me of being too much involved in football. But they have learnt to compromise.”
This is how the medical and support staff have closely knit the Indian national team in a structure nothing short of a family. The members sincerely work their socks off all day to serve them a little better every time. The immaculate bonding between this “team behind the team” is what keeps the well-oiled machine nicknamed Blue Tigers, cruising.