One of the leading hospitals in Bengaluru, Sparsh, now boasts of a special clinic dedicated to sports-related issues. Called SPORTHO, this clinic was launched earlier this year. Dr Sharan Patil, India's leading orthopaedic surgeon and the man at the center of Sparsh, is also the brains behind the idea of this unique facility.
Talking exclusively to International Business Times, India, Dr Patil revealed how the idea of SPORTHO emerged in his mind.
"It's very interesting how this all evolved. It's something which came from within the organisation. There is a wide spectrum of people we treat. This is due to the drift towards a more sporting nation that we could see right here in Bengaluru. There are so many more people who are participating in sporting activity."
Dwelling on the issue of a culture of sports, Dr Patil said: "There is more consciousness about being healthy through being sporty and it has become a major issue. Some people are very busy in life while some are not at all. Both of them have taken up physical fitness as a big thing to do.
"While it's a great trend, it brings with it a lot of issues as well. Because people who have had a very sedentary life, when they get into a fitness regime, they are the ones who are at great risk to get injured. Because they are probably not fit enough and they try to do something difficult. If the process is not right, they will get injured.
"At the same time, the guys who are extremely busy and have been sports people before, they find time only to play on weekends. They are also the ones who I have noticed coming in with a lot of challenges."
When asked about the sort of clients that the clinic is drawing, he said that it consists of people belonging to various disciplines.
"The sporting fraternity consists of runners club, football clubs, etc. There are so many of them now, especially in Bengaluru. You have, from Spanish football clubs to Argentinian football clubs, having camps here. They are grooming youngsters. These people started coming to us because of the reputation we carried as an orthopaedic hospital.
"They wanted to see if we can take care of their students and young players, if they get injured. They also wanted to see if we can teach them how to do things right. If they get injured, how to rehab and get them back to the sport."
Dr Patil also asserts that having a sports clinic goes well beyond merely treating sports-related injuries.
"When all these things were coming together, there was something constantly in my mind. How well positioned and well prepared are we to take care of this challenge? We have forever been dealing with injuries like ligament tear, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, etc. We always do a surgical act and fix the problem.
"But the profile of people who are coming in was such that we needed to go much beyond just fixing a tear of a ligament or an injured part of the body. So, we thought that there is something before and something after the surgical aspect which we, as specialists, need to get into with our thought process.
"While we don't want to get into the fitness part of it, we do want to educate them on how to do their physical activity the right way to get fit. You will get injured at some point of time. And since we have the expertise to diagnose it and intervene properly, that's what we are already doing. But there is something beyond that.
"The next step naturally was: How to rehab them? How to time their comeback? When can they do something and when they cannot? How to expedite their comeback and do it the right way. All of these were issues we dealt with while conceptualizing SPORTHO."
The top orthopaedic surgeon of the country also spent some time talking about the varying needs of differed codes.
"The other major deficiency we found in ourselves was that we needed to customize these treatments. Different sports have different requirements. So, throwing sports are very different from lifting sports. Racquet sports are very different from running sports. So, we needed to cater to this. We also needed to understand these sports.
"Somebody comes to me and he doesn't only have ligament tear but he plays a sport where there is contact between two people and he needs to twist and turn, move and jump, and all these things become important. So, we took it on ourselves to get into that position where we understand these sports. What are the moves? How are they done? Talking to the coaches.
"We learnt ourselves what is important for each sport. So, this entire gamut of things came together to be called SPORTHO. We thought this was the need of the hour. We need to do before and after, not just our job, we have to understand each sport specifically and by doing what we can, bring them back to their pre-injury status. This is the whole thing."
Lastly, Dr Sharan Patil also revealed that the set-up of the clinic came about after extensive discussions and research. Many specialists who deal with sports-related problems were brought in for the clinic.
"We came together and worked on SPORTHO for more than six months, putting all the thoughts and plans together. So, for example, we needed a sports nutritionist, a sports psychologist, a sports medicine therapist and then the surgeons and physiotherapist whom we already have. Strength and conditioning was a very big area where we didn't have them before.
"So, we thought we needed all that. We did all this together and then said: 'Now we start to talk to the coaches from different sports and people who go for summer camps.' They need education and one needs to understand how to respect an injury and allow it to heal before you get back. Sometimes, in competitive sports, guys are heavily pressed to get back due to parental pressure and coach's pressure to get back to sport. We as people of science have to say where to draw the line. So, these are many, many areas which we worked on to get SPORTHO going."