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Sporting apathy: Groundsman replaces physio on football field

Mumbai District Football Association's (MDFA) apathy towards safety and medical care for players participating in their events could ruin careers.

BEST striker Saurabh Lokhande after receiving treatment at KEM Hospital in Parel yesterday. Pic/Tushar Satam
BEST striker Saurabh Lokhande after receiving treatment at KEM Hospital in Parel yesterday. Pic/Tushar Satam  

Yesterday, when BEST striker Saurabh Lokhande injured his right hand during a collision with a Sporting Options player during the MDFA Division II tie at St Xavier's ground (Parel), he was treated by a groundsman since the physiotherapist was on leave. Riding on Ganesh Kedar's goal, BEST won the match 1-0.

Lokhande was given first-aid by his coach Nitin Bhosle. Later, Udayan Banerjee (MDFA Honorary Secretary) organised for an ambulance. But it was a good 20 minute-wait before Lokhande was taken to the nearby KEM Hospital.

"I had to wait for almost 20 minutes before I was taken to the hospital. Thankfully, I do not have a fracture. In case of a serious injury, we have to take medical leave since BEST does not grant us special leave like other organisations," said 22-year-old Lokhande, who works as a helper in the engineering department.

BEST coach Bhosle expressed shock and disappointment at the lack of medical facilities. "We are used to this kind of treatment meted out by MDFA. We pay Rs 13,000 as entry fee to participate in the tournament. Can't they arrange for another physiotherapist if the regular one is on leave," asked Bhosle.

Meanwhile, Sporting Options coach Roger Fernandes said, "as per rules, the match cannot begin without medical help present at the venue. How can a groundsman replace a physio?"

Banerjee though felt that he did his job by calling for the ambulance. "The regular physiotherapist in on leave for a week. We arranged for another physiotherapist. By the time he could reach the venue, the player was taken to KEM in an ambulance."

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