A doctor passionate about sports

What’s the most dreadful nightmare for a sportsperson? Failure in the sport? No! The worst nightmare is when he or she gets injured.  Injuries can immobilize them and jeopardise their sporting career. Sports injuries are injuries that happen when playing sports or exercising. Some are accidental. Others can result from poor training practices or improper gear. Not warming up or stretching enough before a game or exercise can also lead to injuries. These may at times cause serious damage even resulting in the end of one’s sporting career.

Sports Medicine bridges the gap between science and practice in the promotion of exercise and health. It also helps in the scientific assessment, study and understanding of sports performance. Regular features include: sports injury prevention and treatment; exercise for health, drugs in sports and recommendations for training and nutrition. Our country does not have many doctors who specialise in sports medicine. Among those available, a majority of the doctors are too expensive and are out of reach for an ordinary sportsperson.

Here is a doctor who specializes in sports injuries because of his empathy towards sports persons. Dr. David Rajan, the leading Arthroscopic surgeon in Coimbatore, talks to team TCM about his passion towards sports and his reason for specializing in sports medicine.

A brief introduction about Ortho One and Dr. David Rajan

Envisaging the need for non-trauma orthopaedic care, Dr. David V. Rajan founded Ortho One in 2007. The main focus is to provide exclusive service in the subspecialties of Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Joint Replacement Surgery, Paediatric Orthopaedics, Spine Surgery, Deformity Correction, etc.

Today, Ortho One Centre successfully carries out many knee and shoulder surgeries every day. The hospital has skilled, trained, and committed orthopaedic surgeons on board to deliver quality care to the patients. Orthopaedic surgeons are specialized in the above mentioned sub-specialties to give focused care.

Dr. David V. Rajan is an exclusive Arthroscopic Surgeon. Dr. Rajan was one of the earliest surgeons to promote the specialty of Arthroscopy in India. Apart from Arthroscopic surgery, he is actively involved in the care of sportspersons. At present, he is heading the faculty at Ortho One – Orthopaedic Specialty Centre, Coimbatore, India. He has traveled to Germany, France, USA, Sweden and Holland to attend numerous meetings and gain expertise in Arthroscopic surgery.

Dr. Rajan’s interest in sports medicine

So what made him specialise in sports medicine? Dr. Rajan recounts his journey. “During my earlier days when I was practicing general orthopaedics, sports men and women used to come to me for treatment. I was a sportsman myself though not an extraordinary athlete”, the doctor says with a smile. “I could empathise with them and that made me specialise in sports medicine. Every year I travel abroad to learn the latest treatments and keep myself updated about prevention and treatment options for sports injuries. It gives us great satisfaction to see our patients get back to their original level of activity at the earliest”.

And the key is doing all this at a reasonable cost. Most of the times surgeries done at the right time help sports persons recover soon and get them back on track. Aarthi, an athlete aged 18 and a national-level bronze medallist, got injured during the Junior athletic meet a few months ago. She was brought to Ortho One and had to undergo a surgery the same day to fix a fractured Tibia bone. Aarthi is now able to walk without crutches, thanks to the treatment given by Dr. David Rajan and Dr. Santhosh. She will be able to get back to her routine in a few months time.

Prevention is always better than the cure

It’s not only about the treatment. “Prevention is always better than cure. Sports bodies should have facilities for treatment and first aid at the respective venues, so that sportspersons do not get injured or aggravate their injury when given the right treatment at the right time”, says Dr. David Rajan.

Ortho One is conducting awareness programmes on prevention of sports injuries, to educate parents, coaches and sportspersons. The sessions throw light on the various factors to be considered while providing the right sport for children and other precautionary methods to prevent the child from sustaining long term sports injuries.

“Our vision is to minimise sports injuries that occur while pursuing a sport”, says Dr.David Rajan. “80% of sports injuries that occur are preventable. Therefore we educate the public to practice injury free sports”, adds the doctor.

Regular health checkups to keep a constant check on the child’s physical condition can help in monitoring the physical fitness of an athlete. This helps in reducing the possibilities of injuries or other health conditions that may arise during sporting activities.

“Health checkups not only involve the general blood pressure, heart rates, height and weight but it also includes monitoring the condition of bones and muscles. The atmosphere of their training centre, the experience of the coach and frequent moral support from parents are other factors that can motivate the child to perform better”, Dr. Rohit Daniel of Ortho One Orthopaedic Specialty Center said in one of the educative sessions conducted by the hospital. Parents and coaches should consider this with utmost care.

Awareness about sports injuries in India

Awareness levels about sports injuries are comparatively low in India. Coaches and sportspersons do not realise the seriousness of the injury, which if not treated right may put an end to the sporting career.

“The first and foremost thing is there should be provisions for giving first aid. Now people have started realising the gravity of the issue and now more rules are made regarding having doctors on the spot during sporting events, be it athletics, boxing, cricket or racing, which is a good sign”, says Dr. David Rajan.

Ortho One works as a sports medicine partner for many events like marathons, district and state athletic meets, etc.  Their team of doctors manages and treats injuries on the spot, which helps sportspersons to assess the level of injury and to take decisions to participate further.

Rehabilitation is not only physical

“Rehabilitation does not concern with physical aspects alone. It is the determination of the sportsperson combined with treatment that helps in rehabilitation.

Many of them get totally disheartened. We also give them psychological counselling to tell them that it’s not the end of the world and they can still get back to normal and even get back to their sport again”, adds Dr.Rajan.

“As far as sports injuries are concerned rehabilitation is the most important factor. This can determine or destroy someone’s career. So we update ourselves to treat  sports injuries. We try to be at par with the western countries where they have an edge over our country because of their updated technology and treatment”, the doctor continues.

Awards and accolades

Dr. David Rajan has held the post of President of the Indian Arthroscopy Society, the Shoulder Society of India and the Tamil Nadu Orthopaedic Association.

He was a former member of the Technical and Education committee of ISAKOS. He also served as the Vice President of Indo-German Orthopaedic Foundation. He has been awarded honorary membership in the Arthroscopy Association of North America.

Dr. Rajan has received many laurels in his career. The latest award which he received was the “Best Doctor – Tamil Nadu Medical Council Award 2014.” He received this award from His Excellency, Dr. Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu, in August 2014.

He also received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Indian Medical Association and Orthopaedic Society of Coimbatore in July 2014.

Dr. David Rajan – the doctor to count on when it comes to sports medicine.

– Sujatha.S.