Sports are witnessing an upsurge of sorts in India. However, just parallel to the increasing number of youngster aspiring athletes is the rising interest towards the field of sports medicine. As individual players and various ports organizations realize the importance of the physical as well as mental well being of a sportsperson to enhance his/her performance, sports scientists are being hired never before. Though no amount of bio-mechanic training can transform a person without any aptitude into an athlete, a sports scientist can certainly play a crucial role in grooming talented players by suggesting amendments that can maximize their performances.
Trained in assessing and helping sportspeople enhance their performances, the core duties of these professionals include ensuring that players build a healthy physique, development of a balanced nutrition plan, and fostering timely intervention and counseling. Sports scientists are aware of the various medicines banned by sports organizations and know of specialized surgical procures of treating ports related injuries. They can guide sportspersons to take prescribed medicines in accordance with international drug n substance abuse regulation, reduce dependency on performance enhancement supplements, and help a player overcome alcohol poor tobacco abuse.
Professionals can serve as consultants, counselors and performance enhancers to established as well as budding sports persons. Specialists can be on the panel of district and national level sports association like Sports Authority of India and Hockey Federation of India, or render personalized services as specialist consultants to private bodies such as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) , District Cricket associations, MRF Pace Academy, etc. Apart from assistant sports persons, sports medicine allows diverse career opportunities including.
1) Sports psychology: Helping sportspersons tackle problems of burnout, selection anxiety, managing sports and family life, dealing with pressure situations, countering influence of sledging, player spectator conflicts etc.
2) Sports nutrition: Assisting hotels and restaurants to prepare a menu that suits the dietary requirements of visiting players and teams. In case a person does not ant to work with athletes he/she can take up counseling at a gymnasium as well.
3) Sports biomechanics: Biomechanics are involved in the interpretation of physical examinations and development of simulated environments to monitor their impact on players. Such analysis can be used to develop better exercising systems, videogames, sports merchandise uniforms and protection equipment. Biomechanics are employed in the R &D teams of game platform designers like EA Sports, Nintendo, Play station, Nike etc.
4) Training and rehabilitation: Useful in providing specific exercise regimes for people looking to get an athletic built or recuperating from physical injury. Professionals can work as fitness experts in gyms, fitness centers, and hospitality resorts and spas.
In a cricket crazy nation like India sports scientists can ingrain modern principles of biomechanics and chart right diet plan cum training regimen to enhance the flexibility and stamina of players. Taking into account the Commonwealth games in New Delhi and fast track interest in Individual sports like tennis, badminton, boxing, weightlifting, bodybuilding, swimming and athletics, ports scientists can look to align with clubs, gymkhanas and local sport councils to offer their services to emerging sportspersons in the city or state.
The key requirement for being a sports medicine expert is to develop a personal passion for different games. Apart from this, one needs to have a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy as well and should be updated about special surgical and physiotherapy techniques to treat sports injuries. The nature of work demands that professionals travel with the players or team and attend to real time injuries. It is also essential to maintain confidentiality over player fitness and injury. Networking and communication skills are vital assets that can go a long way in developing a healthy relationship between the specialist and athlete.
Independent consultants can charge anywhere between Rs 30,000 to Rs One lakh per session. Those hired by various sports organizations are generally paid up to a six figure monthly salary on contractual basis. However apart from the monetary benefits that this profession offers it also allows you the opportunity to contribute your bit in bringing home a medal.
Since the profession requires a thorough knowledge of the human body, medical students or those with an aptitude for physiotherapy are ideal spirants. Sports medicine is an emerging field in India and is offered as a specialization at major training institutes and universities in India. Students with an MBBS or a degree in physiotherapy, psychopathology or clinical psychology are eligible for PG specializations. Some courses are even open to students without any medical background but who do have some professional experience either as a coach or a sportsperson himself / herself. Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NSNIS) at Patiala offers a Post graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine to medical professionals and students who have cleared MBBS / MD / MS examinations. Department of Sports Medicine an Physiotherapy at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar offers Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and research oriented PhD in Sports Science and Physiotherapy Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University has a Sports Medicine and Pulmonary Physiology Unit offering postgraduate specialization and research in the field. Indira Gandhi Institute of physical Education and Sports Science, University of Delhi covers aspects of sports science in its BSc health Education course. All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health Kolkata, offers an MD in Sports Medicine, SS Patel College of Physical Education, Vallabh Vidyanagar offers one year specialization in sports medicine leading to Bachelor’s of Physical Education.
Sports medicine is still an upcoming field in India and the country till lacks a dedicated sports center. However, with a number of athletes such as Leander Paes asserting the need for sports centers in the country, this is bound to change and eventually the demand for professionals I expected to rise. Therefore, if you aspire to brush shoulders with renowned players and do your bit for bringing home some winning medals, a career in sports science may be the right choice for you.