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 sports persons 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.
“They 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 Arm Forces Medical College,” said Himanshu Kataria; Professor and Head (Joint Replacement), Sports Injury Centre. Athletes will also get facilities to run underwater on a treadmill to develop stronger core muscles.
Underwater on a treadmill
“It is a scientifically proven fact that resistance offer 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 Sports Injury Centre, said India’s running champion PT Usha often use 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 introduce at Sports Injury Centre with greater scientific evidence,” Arya told BusinessLine. 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, increase her potential to do intense exercises from 50 seconds to three minutes.
Waiting period for surgery
These facilities will be available to all athletes in SIC, and theactivities will be measure in a computerise way,” said Arya. While in 2011, SIC saw 50,000 patients; the load more than double to 1.2 lakh in 2018. “Over and above that, they annually get 50,000 physiotherapy patients and conduct up to 300 surgeries per month. They are expanding because the existing building is unable to bear the increasing load.
Once the new centre is build, they will entirely shift operations there; also 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 man hours and are unable to join work. The wait time will reduce once the new centre is operational,” Kataria said.