Underwater training soon for athletes at Sports Injury Centre

Maitri Porecha | Updated on August 31, 2019

The focus will be on developing stronger core muscles

Athletes working out in settings mimicking low oxygen conditions, and running on treadmills underwater will be a possibility in India, next year onwards. The expansion project of Safdarjung Sports Injury Centre (SIC) envisages providing high-end facility to sportspersons in India for the first ever time.

Spread over 1.85 acres, the upcoming 176-bedded, nine-storey, project will cost up to ₹483 crore and will take 12 to 18 months for completion. On Friday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan laid the foundation stone for the expansion project.

“We are introducing high-altitude training hypoxic chambers with cutting-edge facilities for athletes to experience high altitude-like climes at sea-level. Currently, there is a high altitude training set-up in Armed Forces Medical College,” said Himanshu Kataria, Professor and Head (Joint Replacement), SIC.

Athletes will also get facilities to run underwater on a treadmill to develop stronger core muscles. “It is a scientifically proven fact that resistance offered by water helps in increasing endurance of the athletes. The body undergoes greater exertion due to resistance of the water, leading to stronger core muscles,” said Kataria.

RK Arya, Director of SIC, said India’s running champion PT Usha often used to run along the seashore to build greater strength.

“Sea water and sand offer greater resistance which led to strengthening her muscles. Now similar concepts are being introduced at SIC with greater scientific evidence,” Arya told BusinessLine.

Prehab programme

Arya further said that the facilities are a part of a ‘Prehab,’ programme that introduces activities to reduce any potential injuries. “Strengthening core muscles is a part of Prehab to prevent injuries. For example, badminton champion PV Sindhu, through Prehab, increased her potential to do intense exercises from 50 seconds to three minutes. These facilities will be available to all athletes in SIC, and the activities will be measured in a computerised way,” said Arya.

While in 2011, SIC saw 50,000 patients, the load more than doubled to 1.2 lakh in 2018.

“Over and above that, we annually get 50,000 physiotherapy patients and conduct up to 300 surgeries per month. We are expanding because the existing building is unable to bear the increasing load. Once the new centre is built, we will entirely shift operations there and hand over the current building to Safdarjung management for different use,” said Arya. Increasing workload is leading to more waiting period for surgery, said Kataria. “Young athletes wait for up to four months for surgery, losing out on precious manhours and are unable to join work. The wait time will be reduced once the new centre is operational,” Kataria said.

Published on August 31, 2019

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