Last week, MiD DAY carried two successive stories highlighting the plight of athletes competing in football tournaments organised by the Districts Sports Office (DSO), where there is a shocking absence of basic medical care. (‘Heaven help your footballer kid,’ July 18, and ‘U-16 goalie gets torn lip, no medical aid,’ on July 19).
The exposé seems to have done little to improve the state of affairs, with yet another teenager being admitted to hospital with a major cheekbone fracture, after no medical assistance was offered to him on the field.
On Saturday, 16-year-old Roshan (name changed) sustained a serious cheekbone fracture while playing in the U-19 football match at Azad Maidan, when another team’s player allegedly tried to tackle him.
The boy, who studies in a reputed south Mumbai college, continued playing after the incident. No doctors were present to examine his injuries.
“After he got hit on the face, what shocked me is that the referee did not blow the whistle to declare a foul, when that was clearly the case. To make matters worse, they did not even have ice and I had to rush outside to buy some ice from a sugarcane juice seller nearby,” said the boy’s father, requesting anonymity.
“At the time, we had no idea he had sustained such a serious fracture on his cheekbone. My son continued playing. It was only after the match when he headed back to college that his nose started bleeding and he started experiencing nausea,” he added.
The 16-year-old was then rushed to the state-run GT Hospital in Fort where CT scans were conducted.
From there, he was shifted to Saifee Hospital in Charni Road. He underwent a major surgery on Saturday evening in the private hospital. At the hospital, Roshan’s cheekbone fracture was operated upon by cracking open his skull to avoid any scarring on his face, explained his father.
He is now recuperating in the hospital, where he has been put on fluids as he is unable to chew food.
An FIR was lodged in Azad Maidan police station on Sunday, as the boy had to undergo neurosurgery to get his fracture treated.
The other side
Despite repeated attempts to contact his doctors at the hospital, they remained unavailable for comment. Speaking to MiD DAY, Sumit Patil, DSO in-charge said, “We provide the football players with basic first aid as injuries are routine, but a doctor is not required as in most cases, only first aid is required. We always have ice available during the matches. We provide whatever is made available to us from the department.”
Asked why a doctor isn’t present during such intense football matches, he replied, “For that, please contact our sports officer. It is also the responsibility of the school or college to carry first aid along with them and rush the kids to the hospital. We provide these students with whatever the government provides.”