OFC’s Dr Praveen Choudhary credits ISL management for ensuring safety of players and staff

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, many things around the world were halted and so were games and sports. However, things are getting back to normal with some strict precautions and guidelines regarding health and hygiene. During the pre-season training of the Bhubaneswar-based Hero Indian Super League (ISL) team Odisha FC, the club’s media team caught up with Team Doctor Dr Praveen Choudhary for a short interview.

“As you all know, we all are in a pandemic stage of Covid 19 and it will take a long time to eradicate or normalise everything. But, on the other hand, we can’t just stop working, playing etc due to the Coronavirus situation. We can do everything by taking proper measures and keeping ourselves safe. As the Team Doctor of Odisha FC, it is a huge challenge to start our regular practice during the pandemic ahead of the upcoming ISL tournament keeping in mind the safety of all players and staff,” Dr Choudhary explained to the OFC Media Team.

“Medical staff has to do regular checkups on the players and other team officials related to their health, hygiene and sanitisation. During the tournament we have to take care and check if the sanitisation processes are being carried out properly or not,” he further added.

Dr Choudhary also hailed the ISL management for their efforts to ensure the league takes place in a full-fledged manner although in one state. With less than a month to go for the League to begin, the OFC team doctor commented, “The ISL management has made this possible in the pandemic and has taken a great initiative to start the games by keeping in mind the safety of all the players and each and everyone involved for the smooth conduct of the tournament. They have created secured bubbles for all the teams which allow all of us – players and staff – to be safe and healthy.”

“It’s really commendable that they have decided to organise the entire tournament in one state (Goa) due to the pandemic and this decision was also not that easy as the organisers had to ensure quality practice pitches for all the participating teams and also look for hotels which maintain quality and hygiene. The League is ensuring that the players and staff undergo Covid tests regularly which keep players and staff safe with early detection of any kind of infection within the bubble.”

Speaking about the dos and don’ts during the competition, he highlighted the importance of sanitization and maintaining the necessary protocols for all the players and staff.

“During the competition time, it is very important that we should ask the players to sanitise their hands regularly while travelling and after touching any surface. Most importantly, we have to ensure that the players and every member of the support staff maintain proper hygiene and follow all the protocols that are laid down.

“During the matches and also during the practice sessions, players should not exchange their clothes, water bottles, towels etc and we have to be very particular about all these things to avoid any kind of contamination,” the medical professional asserted.

As this will be one such rare occasion where the players will have very limited access to different places and will be confined to one particular area inside the bubble, the medical team will also have to ensure that this doesn’t affect a player’s mental health. Dr Choudhary also stressed on how crucial mental health is for the players who go day in and day out to the field with a high expectation of performing well and succeeding.

“Apart from physical health, it is very important to look after the mental aspects of the players as well in the current scenario. Because of the secured bubble, they are not allowed to go outside and have limited access to various places. They also have to stay in the same hotel for such a long time which certainly affects the mindset of many people. Secondly, the players will have pressure from many to perform and play well for the team once the league starts. We all have to make sure that the players and all other staff are in the best of conditions not only physically but also mentally throughout the entire passage of the tournament,” the physician concluded.

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