University of Malawi’s College of Medicine has opened a Sports Medicine and Lifestyle Centre at its Sports Complex in Blantyre.
The facility will be dealing with issues concerning physical fitness and treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercises.
Sports Complex High Performance Centre Chairperson Enock Chisati said the centre will also be conducting research to guide policy and interventions for the improvement of performance in various sports disciplines.
“We have two major components in physiotherapy, physical fitness and exercises. Under physical fitness, we will be dealing with tests and conditioning programmes aimed at improving sports.
“There will also be guidance on athletes’ nutrition and psychological well-being to aid improvement of sports performance. On physiotherapy, our main focus will be injury prevention before, during and after games,” Chisati said.
He said athletes’ injury prevention will be done through the provision of healthcare status information and recommendation to sports administrators and managers.
“We will be administering pre-participation physical evaluation by, among other things, lobbying relevant authorities to make the evaluation mandatory in the country. We have devised a highly qualified team equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
“The equipment is at both Sports Complex and a College of Medicine proper. Physical trainers, sports physicians, physiotherapists, sports scientists, exercise physchologists and nutritionists will be handy at the centre. We will also develop a traditional sports medicine model,” Chisati said.
Hockey coach Geoff Biya welcomed established of the centre, saying time had come for athletes and teams in the country to be managed professionally.
“Managing fitness and injuries has been an area of great concern for many years among our athletes. Our athletes and their teams should now heave a sigh of relief. We have seen many injuries during or after games that would have been easily avoided.
“We have had scenarios where some teams have signed players who are already injured while other athletes were forced into early retirement from the game because there was no expertise. It is my hope that this centre will change things for the better,” Biya said.
Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu said his body will partner College of Medicine in the initiative.
“We need such facilities to be readily available in Malawi so that our players get the right treatment when they are injured. It is important that the recovery rate of players is higher and quicker so that they return to action and continue with their careers.
“We therefore commend College of Medicine for the initiative. We hope to strike a partnership with them for provision of services and access to their facilities,” Nyamilandu said.
Nyasa Big Bullets former Chief Executive Officer Fleetwood Haiya also hailed the initiative and called on CoM to partner medical aid facility providers such as Medical Aid Society of Malawi.
“Most players retire from football prematurely due to injuries. We have lost good players because such facilities were not there. We therefore believe that this centre will help in prolonging players’ careers.
“Sports will, therefore, be an attractive venture as stakeholders are now assured that there is a one stop centre capable of providing necessary treatment each time athletes pick injuries. My plea is that such facilities should have a special package for athletes which should be different from the one that caters for the working class,” Haiya said.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.