“You can’t control injuries, but you can control how hard you work to come back,” – Brittney Griner

It is the story of a small-town boy, born and brought up in Songadh, Gujarat, who has dedicated his career to building fit and healthy players. 

Dr.Mangalsinh Gamit, the physiotherapist of the Barnes BBFS Residential Academy, has paved his path with immense hard work to reach where he is today. He is the first doctor in his village. Mangal’s journey is one filled with hardships and obstacles. But as they say, is there any success without working hard?

Mangal wished to opt for science for higher studies during his school days. Once he graduated, he wanted to pursue MBBS. However, his percentage did not fulfill the requirements, so he pursued physiotherapy instead. His elder sister at the time had already opted for physiotherapy, so this was an additional push. They thought the siblings could open a clinic together. He learned about ‘sports physiotherapy’ during his college days and by doing internships with sports teams. 

Physiotherapy is the study of treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a person’s ability, function, and well-being. It helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and fitness. Careers in sports are notoriously hard to come by, but pursuing a degree in physiotherapy opens opportunities in this area. Professional sports teams need physiotherapists, and they are paid well at professional clubs. 

The role of a physio transcends injury prevention

“I am an employee of a company called ‘My Physio Spot’ based in Mumbai. I got sent here since they have a tie-up with BBFS Residential Academy,” says Mangal.

His experience in the BBFS Barnes Residential Academy has been fruitful so far. The players love him. His relationship with them is great too. 

The players are extremely comfortable around Mangal and treat him like their best friend. 

“Along with the player’s physical knowledge, I try to bond with players and know them personally. When I understand them and their personality, the players generally open up to me. 

Sometimes to continue training, players do not tell their physios about injuries that could potentially risk their careers. So to prevent that, it is important to bond with the players.” says Mangal.

Mangal believes the role of a physiotherapist in a student-athletes’s life is crucial. Be it a personal or general physio. He says there are certain things that an athlete/player cannot share with parents or coaches but tend to open up to the physios. They share their health/physical-related issues alongside problems that might bug them personally. In such cases, physios help them out with a lot of things. 

When a player gets demotivated due to his/her injuries, Mangal speaks to them and helps them calm down. He guides them through their recovery and motivates players simultaneously. He analyzes the growth and customizes his approach. This has resulted in a confidence boost amongst most. 

“Mangal is a helpful, hardworking, and empathetic person. He is always concerned about the player’s health and goes the extra mile for them. His goal is always to help the players in minimal time so he/she can start training soon. He researches thoroughly particular injuries and designs rehabilitation sessions according to the injury’s severity. To all of us coaches, he is a great friend, and we are glad to have him on our team here in Barnes,” says Ankit Sawant, a coach at the BBFS Residential Academy.

Learning and development: The key to achieving true success 

The daily schedule of a physiotherapist is packed.

For instance, Mangal starts his day at 5:00 AM. After freshening up, he joins the morning training session from 5:30 AM to 6:45 AM. He has breakfast post-training and then gets about an hour and a half to freshen up. Around 10:00 AM, he and the team report to the BBFS office, where they work till 2:00 PM. After lunch, he sits with the student-athletes. By 3:30 PM, he reaches the ground to see players who need assistance with injuries and rehab. The evening session starts at 4:00 PM and ends at 6:00 PM. After the training session and dinner, he opens the physio room till 9:45 PM, after which he sleeps. 

Although Mangal ensures that the student-athletes are at the best of their abilities mentally and physically, at times, Mangal undergoes challenges that need sufficient time and patience. 

“This job requires me to be on my feet at all times. There is a constant pressure that the players depend on me for their recovery and that I must work extra hard for the player to start playing as soon as possible,” says Mangal.

According to him, awareness of injury prevention is lacking among athletes. Some players are aware of it, but due to their absolute concentration in the game, they tend to avoid it and get injured. Injury prevention is necessary for a player. There are multiple scenarios when a player does not follow the instructions given by the physio and ends up deteriorating his/her health more. Behavior matters a lot. Different kinds of players respond differently.

“He is an extremely hardworking physio who always has the player’s best interest at heart. He is ready to help anyone in need at any point in time. Besides treatment, he helps players with their day-to-day problems. He also teaches biology to some of the younger players,” says Rajiv, another coach of the BBFS Residential Academy.

Mangal believes in upskilling and upscaling. Learning and development are paramount in his journey of helping players achieve their best potential. He learns online and offline when he gets time, speaks to the coaches to align with the latest training methods, and keeps in constant touch with his seniors and teachers. Mangal aims to be a better version of himself and keep upgrading.

Read more about BBFS Residential Academy

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