India rugby captain turns physio at Khelo India University Games

Vahbiz Bharucha is a physiotherapist by profession and she is putting her practice to good use at the Khelo India University Games.

The rugby players at the Khelo India University Games had a special physiotherapist waiting on call to treat their niggles on Wednesday in the form of Indian rugby women’s captain, Vahbiz Bharucha.

The 26-year-old is a qualified physiotherapist and is at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) grounds to help out rugby players at the Khelo India University Games.

“My feet are itching to be on the field so that I can chuck the ball or maybe make a tackle but I have come here to Bhubaneswar mainly to be the medical aid on field for three days,” she said.

From being dropped to becoming Indian rugby captain

Vahbiz Bharucha had led the Indian rugby women’s team to a bronze medal at the Asian women’s Division 1 Rugby Championship in the Philippines last year but not all was smooth sailing for her.

Vahbiz Bharucha is a physiotherapist by profession and she is putting her practice to good use at the Khelo India University Games. Photo: KIUG
Vahbiz Bharucha is a physiotherapist by profession and she is putting her practice to good use at the Khelo India University Games. Photo: KIUGVahbiz Bharucha is a physiotherapist by profession and she is putting her practice to good use at the Khelo India University Games. Photo: KIUG

She was dropped from the Indian rugby team in 2016 when her performances dipped due to her physiotherapy practice taking up a lot of her time.

“There was a time when I focused only on the sport and my physiotherapy work took a back seat. I have also been at the other end of the spectrum and my game went for a toss and I got dropped from the Indian team,” she said.

“But now I have found the balance I have managed, working in the first half of the day and training as an athlete in the latter half.”

Changing perceptions at the Khelo India University Games

Young athletes at the ongoing University Games are understandably not very aware of how to take care of their bodies and Vahbiz Bharucha wants to impart that knowledge.

“It is one of the red flags for India, especially in a sport like rugby. Some athletes are roped in because they have speed or the physique,” Vahbiz Bharucha pointed out. “But there is a lot more that goes into the making of a player if we want to reduce, if not completely prevent, the possibility of injuries.”

Vahbiz Bharucha also highlighted an important point for athletes at the Khelo India University Games on Wednesday. “It is okay to leave the field because of an injury and not risk aggravating it.”

“I had just finished telling a player, who got hit on the face by a rival player’s shoulder, not to move his neck, when his team-mates were provoking him to resume playing. 

“The mentality needs to change,” she signed off.

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