PT Usha’s son on being a sports medicine expert | Interview

P T Usha son
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P T Usha was India’s pride in the field of athletics. Now, her son Dr Vignesh V Ujjwal is making great strides in the academic field. After completing his MBBS, Vignesh cleared the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s diploma in sports medicine with distinction. 

Dr Vignesh talks to Manorama about the IOC course, a career in sports medicine, and more. Excerpts from the interview.

Why did you choose sports medicine?

I was interested in sports, right from my school days. I have always focussed on fitness as well. But I forayed into competitive sports rather late, and I realised that I did not have much scope for growth in this field. Hence, I opted for sports medicine. Probably, I was also influenced by my parents' track record. 

(Usha's husband V Sreenivasan is a former national Kabbadi player.)

Why did you pick IOC's course?

The IOC provides one of the best diploma courses in sports medicine in the world. The syllabus and teaching methods are of high standards. The classes are led by specialists.

What is the procedure to get admission to the course?

The IOC diploma course is open to all those with an MBBS degree. Proficiency in English is a must. The course is for two years.

What is the mode of study?

You can study in your own country in the first year. You can even take the course while working at some hospitals. They will send the class modules online and the list of books for reference. They will set you assignments and then finally one exam. In the second year, the student will have to attend the conference abroad. You can pick the country from their list. I chose to go to the UK. Specialists will take classes, and you can interact with them and clear your doubts. There will also be opportunities to make presentations.

What are the subjects of the diploma course?

You will study various aspects from the human body to the weight training of the sports personalities. Injuries likely to be sustained by athletes, treatment modalities, medicines to be prescribed, and diet are covered. Modules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the use of performance-enhancing drugs and its ill-effects are also included.

What is the role of a sports medicine expert in a sports academy or in the career of a sports personality?

A sports medicine expert can make valuable contributions to different aspects from training schedules to injury management. When star players of foreign football clubs are injured, the team managements make announcements on when they will be match-fit after taking inputs from such experts. When an athlete is injured, a sports medicine expert has to give instructions on treatment and seek the services of a specialist doctor. The expert also takes a call on whether the help of a physio or sports nutritionist is needed. In short, a sports medicine expert, along with the trainer, has the responsibility to give scientific and technical instructions for nurturing the best athlete.

Do you help your mother in training?

Definitely. I do visit the Usha School of Athletics, and have made some suggestions on training modules and so on.

Will you be studying further?

The diploma course is just the starting point. There are even MD courses in sports medicine. The MD course is Germany is widely popular.

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