On January 8, the Sports Injury Centre (SIC) at Safdarjung Hospital was relocated to a new facility equipped with upgraded, imported, and state-of-the-art machines. This leading SIC, considered a significant resource for athletes, has expanded its capacity from 3 to 7 operation theatres and increased its bed count from 35 to 156.
Established just prior to the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), the Sports Injury Centre at Safdarjung Hospital, a unique institution in India, was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Gaurav Kumar, a rehabilitation expert and fitness trainer at SIC, highlighted the advancements in the centre, stating, “The number of machines has increased. In which highly imported exercise machines and techno gyms are installed which are used in Olympics only”.
Having dedicated nearly a decade to working in SIC, Kumar elaborated on the new features of the upgraded SIC, saying, “Underwater treadmill – designed for high-level training for pro athletes – is set up for the first time here in Indian medical history. Additionally, a hydrotherapy pool and an exclusive balance system have also been installed.”
“In India, we have only one centre equipped with a ‘vacuum sport machine’ that aids in both lower and upper body workouts. Furthermore, a biomechanic lab and motion action lab are soon to be established, contributing to multi-sport recovery,” explained Gaurav.
Emphasising the significance of the centre, he said, “This centre is especially beneficial for national and state-level players who couldn’t afford private tuition. Elite players can typically afford personal trainers or machines, but not everyone can. Therefore, athletes from various sports, guided by injury recommendations from doctors, come here for exercise.”
Elaborating on the new facilities introduced at the centre, Gaurav said, “The ‘Personalised Biofeedback Strengthening System’ is another addition, enabling players to exercise according to their weight and height. Users need to install an app, create a profile with details like name and age, and then connect with the machine through scanning. This allows players to tailor their workouts according to their individual strengths.”
“We already had a treadmill, but now it has been upgraded to a ‘Parashoot treadmill’, designed to facilitate running with resistance. Now, you can consider that all types of facilities for players injury recovery are available under one roof,” concluded Gaurav.
Players back on track
Many players from all over the country come here for their injuries, and many have resumed their game practice as before.
Amir, 21, is one of them. He came for the treatment of his right knee from Allahabad, UP. A student at NIT and a taekwondo player, Amir is undergoing treatment again at SIC.
“My left knee was injured, and I had an operation here at SIC two years ago. It has recovered completely, and I resumed playing taekwondo normally. I don’t even feel disabled,” said Amir, who faced another injury during practice.
“So when my right knee was injured, I came here again. Just 10 days ago, my knee operation was done, and now, as you can see, I’m able to walk.”
Cheaper and better
“The doctors are also good; they listen to you, and treatment is much cheaper compared to private hospitals. When I inquired about its cost, they said 2.5 lakh rupees, but here it is free. After shifting to the new building, it has been better,” he said further.
“When I was injured two years ago, people said I would not be able to practice like before, but due to SIC, it has recovered.”
Like Amir, other players also see SIC as their last hope after failing in other hospitals.
During the lunch break, Aditi Kataria, 20, was also waiting in the OPD. A national player of 10-meter air pistol shooting, Aditi came for her shoulder injury from Gurugram.
“I got injured two years ago. I have checked up at five more hospitals earlier but found no relief. I feel some recovery here,” she told Patriot.
“Palak Gulia, a gold medalist in the Asian Games, also advocated SIC for treatment. The treatment process is good, and I’m satisfied.”
According to the Ministry of Health website, the Sports Injury Centre (SIC) has been established with the objective of providing comprehensive surgical, rehabilitative, and diagnostic services under one roof for specialised treatment of Sports and Joint Disorders.
Another football player who came from Gwalior (MP) with his last hope was waiting for his turn outside the doctor’s cabin.
“For the last three years, I have had a thigh problem. I visited many hospitals, but doctors were unable to diagnose the problem. A senior doctor advised SIC and this is my last hope,” he said, requesting anonymity.
“There is no pain, but I’m unable to kick (football). I want to play again and I am willing to undergo any operation or any other treatment, but I want to recover.”
Zaid, a football player who came from Roorkee for a leg injury, also expressed satisfaction with the treatment at SIC.
The centre is witnessing patients from across the country on a daily basis, the staff at SIC said.
A B.Tech student of G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, said, “My treatment started 15 days ago and the facilities are very good here.”
Doctor Mohit Aurora (Atmaram), who works at SIC, said, “In this new centre, we can now cover more sports injuries compared to before. We have upgraded the cardio lab, CPM machines, and also installed a swimming pool. The main aim is the prevention of injuries, as well as the recovery and rehabilitation of sportspersons.”