Mumbai: A month after freak accident, teen cricketer to return to the field

Feb 19, 2015, 06:56 IST | Sadaguru Pandit

An arrow through his head has not deterred 16-year-old Brijesh Sahani, as he prepares for his first cricket match today, just a fortnight after he was discharged from the hospital

In a cricket match between employees of Mumbai University and VPM club today, most players will not even be aware that a 16-year-old among them was fighting for his life just a month back.

Brijesh Sahani (left) with his coach Rajesh Parker. The 16-year-old went back to practising the game after he was discharged from the hospital
Brijesh Sahani (left) with his coach Rajesh Parker. The 16-year-old went back to practising the game after he was discharged from the hospital

Brijesh Sahani is slated to play his first match today, merely 15 days after he was discharged from the hospital. Just a month ago, the youngster was involved in a freak accident, when an arrow shot by one of the archers practising at VPM (Vishwa Pragati Mandal) sports club ground pierced his head.

mid-day’s report on January 17
mid-day’s report on January 17

Sahani’s resilience helped him make a complete recovery physically. Itching to play again, he had even started practising at a Charkop ground. Miraculously, aside from slurry speech, the injury to his brain has left no permanent damage. “He has developed a twitch in his speech and his pronunciation is a little slurry.

But, thankfully, there were no other complications. My son has lost a lot of weight, but if he can come back from his death bed, he can certainly overcome this as well,” said Parasnath Sahani, his father. Brijesh is full of energy and enthusiasm for the upcoming match.

“I am still not able to run as fast as I used to, but my coach says I will be able to do it with proper training and exercise. I am really looking forward to the match and am practising hard for it,” he said. The youngster also brushed aside any fears about playing at the VPM ground again, “I don’t feel scared going to the ground at all. It was just an accident. In fact, I still go there for my yoga sessions.”

mid-day had reported on the teenager’s accident, which occurred when was playing at the Dahisar ground. Sahani was bowling when an archer practising a few feet away did not notice him running in the middle of the ground, and shot an arrow that penetrated the boy’s skull.

However, despite the grave accident, authorities at the venue have done very little to avoid such incidents in future, besides changing time slots. The archer’s range continues to be a part of the same ground where children play cricket.

‘A gifted player’
Meanwhile, between his yoga sessions and physiotherapy, suggested by the neurosurgeon who removed the arrow, Sahani is busy preparing for his Thursday match. His coach, a former university player and a well-known face in the under-16 coaching circuit, Rajesh Parker, said that the gruesome accident has done little to affect the 16-year-old’s will power and skill.

“He is a naturally gifted player. I have trained many kids, and I know that his spark will take him a long way. It takes a lot to go through such a shocking accident and then return to the same pitch without bearing any scars of the memories, and Brijesh has done that beautifully. I am extremely proud of him,” he said.

Parker has refused to continue coaching at the ground until the VPM club authorities take concrete steps to resolve the issue of the archery range. An employee of the club told mid-day, on condition of anonymity, “As it is a sports club, people move around the ground and it is dangerous to let archers practise when there are people around.

Even after the incident, they have only shifted the archery time slot to 7-9 pm, which is not a solution.” Despite repeated attempts, authorities at the VPM sports club, and BJP leader Anil Gaikwad, who is a senior official of the club, remained unavailable for comment.

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