THE SADDLERS' medical team has been boosted with the appointment of Ashvin Pimpalnerkar as Honorary Club Surgeon
He joins Club Physiotherapists Jon Whitney and Marc Czuczman and Club Doctor Ralph Rogers in looking after the fitness and general health of the Walsall players.
The 39 year-old is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in Sports Surgery. He studied at the University of Poona in India before moving to England in 1994 to continue his orthopaedic career.
Besides his NHS and private practice he is a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy and his work also involves dealing with injured members of HM Forces both in the UK and on deployment.
In 2002 he had the opportunity of taking a Sports Medicine Surgical Fellowship at the University of Calgary in Canada.
There he was exposed to a wide range of sports injuries, both in recreational and elite athletes. Apart from the surgical training, he had the unique opportunity to work as assistant surgeon to the Calgary Flames a professional NHL Ice hockey team and the 'Stampeders' the varsity football team.
He is now a Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Good Hope Hospital, BUPA Hospital in Little Aston and the Birmingham Nuffield Hospital and having worked closely alongside Walsall Football Club in recent years, he is delighted to become Club Surgeon. He specialises in Day case and arthroscopic (key-hole) sports surgery "It is a role that I face with real relish," he said. "I have been involved in sports practice for some time and it is an area that I am extremely interested in."
"Dr. Rogers has been instrumental in bringing me to Walsall FC. I have dealt with players from the club in the past and my work with the Royal Navy, where I am Surgeon Commander, has stood me in good stead. Whether I am in places like Basra or in the UK, I have to deal with a lot of sports injuries and the philosophy there is exactly the same - to get patients fit as quickly as possible and back to their normal level of activity.
"There is great similarity between football and the military. In both groups one is dealing with fit, young individuals who are well motivated and who want to get out there and back to doing what they are best at. Sport in the Forces is a way of life!"
"Sports medicine has changed quite a lot over the years; it's not just about one individual, it's about having a skilled team working around the patient requiring dedicated physiotherapists, an astute sports physician and timely input from a sports surgeon. Hopefully Walsall now has that."
"The team approach to treatment is vital. However it's not just about the work. There is an excellent camaraderie amongst the medical staff here at Bescot Stadium. The players know that we are just a phone call away and that's the way it should be."
"My role would be to determine which injuries go down the route of surgery and working closely with the other medical team members to formulate an optimal surgical and rehabilitation plan. The Chairman here is very clued up on the medical side of things and the players can feel confident that they will be treated in the best possible way.
"The club is moving forward in the right direction. We have the personnel in place and the facilities and equipment are also improving. During my time in Canada I was fortunate enough to experience the amazing facilities of the Sports Medicine Centre in Calgary as well as the 'Saddledome' home to the Calgary Flames. Our goal has to be to match that."
Club Doctor, Ralph Rogers was one of the key figures in bringing Mr. Pimpalnerkar on board.
The American-born Dr. Rogers, who also works closely with the Trinidad & Tobago national team, has been critical in the past of the UK's approach to sports medicine. "The way things are done over here is very physio-led," he said. "It has always been that way but it should be a multi-disciplinary approach with more people on board with different expertise.
"The way forward is to have a sports, exercise and medicine team - a total team - with people specialising in different areas, not only in terms of treatment but also training, nutrition and psychology.
"It is what has been going on in America and Europe for some time, so for Walsall to make this appointment is the way forward and to be able to bring someone of Ashvin's calibre to the club is a real coup."