Botswana’s lax reaction to athletes’ injuries criticised

12 Aug 2018

Botswana’s position on athletes that have sustained injuries during competition or training remains a grey area and the negligence cannot go unnoticed.

This was revealed by the Managing Director of MOSO clinics Dr Lesedinyana Odiseng during the Botswana Sports Science and Medicine Symposium that was held at the University of Botswana this past Friday.

Making a presentation on Principles of Sports Rehabilitation at the symposium, Dr Odiseng, who is a specialist in Sports and Exercise Medicine (including musculoskeletal medicine) and Occupational Medicine clinic, lamented the country’s lax approach to dealing with athletes’ injuries.

Speaking on injury rehabilitation for athletes, Dr Odiseng reiterated the need to attend athlete’s injuries well on time, to avoid worsening them. He also noted that injuries to athletes need to be treated by specialists dealing solely on the types of injury incurred.

Dr Odiseng cited an incident where Baboloki Thebe had come to him with an injury 6 weeks prior to the World Championships, adding that he had to give him medication to suit the timeline.

“He then incurred an injury during the World Championships games but when he arrived back from the championships, he was never returned to me for treatment. The next thing I heard, he was in Italy as the people responsible had not dealt with the issue and the injury had not got the attention and speciality it required,” Dr Odiseng explained.

“There should be sports injury rehabilitation, the goal is to keep the athlete healthy and if injured or sick return the athlete to competition as safely and quick as possible,” Dr Odiseng said.

He further added that they use the interdisciplinary approach which includes prevention, evaluation and treatment of injuries.  “There should be a step by step injury management,” he added.

As a specialist dealing with athletes’ medical assessment and fitness on a daily basis, Dr Odiseng said pre-medical assessment is a necessity for the athletes as it determines their fitness level and endurance.

Still on the issue of Botswana’s negligence of the importance of medical science, Dr Odiseng expressed great concern about teams being sent to international games without a medical team.

He cited an example of team Botswana being sent to the previous Commonwealth games without a medical practitioner hence Makwala’s false diagnosis.

“We can never rely on medical practitioners from abroad, those people are different from us, speak different English from us, and also do not know our training schedule and fitness of Batswana, hence miscommunication between Isaac Makwala and the doctor who diagnosed him,” he said.

In giving his recommendations, Dr Odiseng said there should be a sports medical commission. “There should be better referral pathways, efficient utilisation of professionals on the ground as well as CME for those looking after athletes.

Zimbabwe based specialist sport and exercise medicine physician in Harare, Dr Austin Jeans talked at length on growth related sports injuries in young athletes. “This differs from age to age, it is vital to make the young athletes injuries bearable so that they can go back to sport and enjoy,” he added.

Dr Jeans highlighted on various sports injuries and their most vulnerable age groups, namely heel pain or mostly known as Sever’s disease, anterior knee pain in 11 year old’s, Osgood schlatter’s disease, 5th metatarsal apophysitis, front hip pain and spinal osteochondritis which he said is normally caused by compression.

“All these injuries may be caused by three things namely; excessive pulling, direct contact or compression, as such it is very important that young athletes do not go to gyms unsupervised as they may use machinery or equipments not suitable for their bodies,” Dr Jeans added.