For any sport, fitness is paramount. However, it becomes even more of a factor in a contact sport like kabaddi where the players are putting their bodies under stress day in and day out on the mat. Adequate rest and recovery is a must if a player hopes to perform at his peak in every single match. With a new level of professionalism brought into the sport of kabaddi since the rise of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, team physios and trainers work hard to ensure injury mitigation and speedy recovery of players. In an exclusive interview with, Samit Shah, one of the physios of the Gujarat Fortunegiants team, revealed what goes on behind the scenes to ensure player health and fitness levels are maintained. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Please tell us about your role as a physio.

I think a physio should focus more on injury prevention rather than treatment. When the pre-season begins we focus more on past injuries and player weaknesses. If we take care of these things first, then we won’t see many injuries to the players.

How does pre-season help the players?                    

Pre-season is all about the basic assessment of the player. We sit with the coaches, trainers and other personnel and discuss the strength and endurance levels of the players. Once the assessment is complete we know which player lacks in what department and then instruct the trainer to work with them accordingly. I feel pre-season is as important as the actual season.

What are the common injuries in kabaddi?

It’s a contact sport so the common injuries are to the joints. Along with that there are ligament injuries as well. Also some smaller injuries like muscle injury.

What is the typical procedure of treatment once a player picks up an injury?

Once an injury occurs, the physio’s role is to diagnose the injury and start the treatment. If there is a joint injury, then there will be the surrounding muscles involved in that injury as well. So after identifying the muscles involved we treat them and then go to the joint. There are many techniques for treatment; one such technique is the manual technique which we can use to reduce joint pain.

According to you, what are the best recovery techniques?

It all depends on the sport. A day before the match we decide how we should treat the injured player. I think ice-bath is one of the best ways of recovery along with swimming.

Tell us about the specific shoes used in kabaddi.

The shoes help the players to move fast on the mat. The sole of the shoe is very light which helps the players to move their feet fast but there is a drawback as well according to me. If more flexibility is given to the ankle then it can get injured more easily.

Do you think age affects player fitness?

Age is the basic factor according to me and age does matter. As the age increases we see changes in the body as well. I think if you compare a sportsperson to a regular person then the changes may not be as drastic with age as they are used to the rigors of that specific sport but it is only natural for a player’s performance to get affected by age.

Do you have any advice for young players?

They follow the sport and they know what diet their seniors consume. I think a kabaddi player should be more focused on their diet because the players require a lot of proteins and carbohydrates. I would like to advise young players to get proper guidance about fitness and diet.