RECOVERING national boxer Michael Alexander needs professional therapeutic assistance to ensure his timely rehabilitation.
Physiotherapist Dominic Wilkes has already volunteered his services to Alexander, who was involved in an accident while riding his motorcycle in Diego Martin, on January 27.
He was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital in critical condition but was discharged on February 26.
Before being discharged, the 27-year-old had successful surgery on his left arm and has also shown good signs of improving mobility.
A close relative said, “Michael is home and resting a lot. The family is ensuring he eats a well-balanced diet. They are doing as much as they can to support Michael in this time.
“However, as advised by the medical team, he would need professional assistance, starting with the physiotherapy.
“Physiotherapist Dominique Wilkes offered his services and has been treating with Michael on a weekly basis. He has been the first (to volunteer services) so far,”
The family is waiting to see what other assistance national sporting organisations, particularly the TT Boxing Association, will offer to help him recover and if it’s even possible for him to return to competition.
Veteran sport consultant Narada Wilson believes it’s a perfect time for sporting bodies such as the boxing association, Sport Company and the TT Olympic Committee, to offer help.
Alexander has been one of TT’s front-running athletes and was favoured to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
Wilson said, “An elite athlete such as Michael, suffering injuries he did, would need athlete-support services. It is necessary for sport nutritionists to ensure they have the proper dietary formulas to ensure his body could return to what a competitive or highly functional state is.”
He added that physiotherapy is important to ensure the basic motions of the athlete return to normal after the injury.
Even clinical psychologists may be needed to help them deal with the stress of such a traumatic event and to adapt to different living circumstances, the stress of non-competitiveness, and any strain in family or personal life.
“At the end of the day,” Wilson said, “prior to being an elite athlete, he is a human being who has to operate in a particular society. Not being able to do what you were glorified for in the not too distant past does cause some sort of strain or stress on the athlete.”
He also noted that being a high performance athlete means Alexander is usually granted funding from specific sporting bodies, particularly the Ministry of Sport Elite Athlete Assistance Programme.
“Michael, due to his injury, could fall out of favour (for funding) because he’s not able to maintain his rank internationally to qualify for such funding. You would need these services to assist with the athlete coming to terms with that potential loss of income.
“The sporting bodies also have a part to play to ensure they provide the best environment for the athlete to recover as well in post-accident life.”
Wilson has been an international sport consultant for the past eight years with The Brazil Link (TBL) Ltd. This organisation provides its clientele of athletes with access to sports attorneys, physiotherapists, sport psychologists, nutritionists and other support service.
Through TBL, Wilson has encountered situations with other notable national athletes in which his organisation had to pay medical bills because national associations did not have proper insurance policies.
Because of this, athletes were sent to the public health care system for career-threatening injuries. However, TBL took it up on itself to cover the cost and then possibly work out a payment plan with organisations to reimburse it over a period of time.
As an alternative, Wilson absorbed the costs as a way to protect the athletes because they were under TBL’s purview.
He concluded, “I have seen how devastating it can be for those who got injuries and were never able to get proper medical attention and post-injury care. This ended up with athletes disappearing off the scene.
“We have to be careful how many of those we allow to slip through the cracks if we would like longevity and success in sport in TT.
“I am just recommending and advising to these NSOs and sporting bodies that they have to ensure they lend assistance to these athletes in their time of misfortune.” He pointed out that in turn, governments or organisations benefit from the athletes’ high profiles when when they perform well.