Don't Overdo It
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Bipin Dani
Team India’s 25-year-old wicketkeeper and batsman Rishabh Pant, who was seriously injured in a car accident on December 30 last year and had to undergo several surgeries, sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ on his road back to normality. On the flip side, he has been advised not to hasten his return to the sports field.
Pant has posted several pictures of his training and batting sessions on social media. "Most patients undergoing reconstruction for ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear should be back to playing active sports in 6-8 months, but if there’s an associated fracture it can require 10-12 months for near complete recovery," believes knee specialist Ashutosh Chaudhary.
"Persons with such injuries should take their time to recover and get back gradually to active sports. The process and can take a year or more for some," the surgeon added.
Anusheela Brahmachary, Sports Psychologist and Counsellor with over 10 years of experience, believes that Pant’s performance will be subject to his mental resilience and anxiety level. "When a player undergoes rehabilitation for such injuries, it is imperative that he or she simultaneously undergoes counselling and mental toughness training to overcome post-traumatic stress symptoms and fears associated with the injury and performance," she says adding, "‘What if I injure myself at the same place again?’ What if I can’t perform well?’ – such thoughts can trap injured players seeking to make a comeback, and can hinder their efforts to turn in the best performance." The psychologist stresses the importance of tools like positive imagery and self-talk to instil a strong and confident identity.
"It is always wise to remember that exercise can make the body and also break the body," cautions Sports Conditioning and Fitness Specialist Deckline Lietao. "The focus though should be on gym training to improve his game," he says. "As has been seen in the past, many regular players have gotten injured possibly due to too much loading in the gym or on the field. Therefore, over-enthusiastic fitness training has to be avoided. The sole focus needs to be on enabling him to peak on match day. He has played at the highest level earlier, so the only thing holding him back would be his physical inability. Strengthening and fitness regimes have to be used judiciously because training a cricketer in the gym like a football or rugby player can become counterproductive."