To play or not to play

April 5, 2020

Social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge for all and especially for sportspersons, who have active lifestyles. But the wise thing to do is to play your role by staying at home

In this week’s column, our panel of experts answers your queries on a variety of issues ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to ways and means that can help you increase your endurance and stamina.


Q: I was member of an Aero club, where we enjoyed glider-flying. Two years ago because of a sudden weather change, I came across an accident which brought my glider to the ground and I suffered minor injuries. After the recovery, when I went to my club to continue the sport, I found out that a fear of flying has gripped me, up to an extent that the very idea of flying on a glider or an airplane is enough to give me goose bumps, heavy breathing and a nausea. I desperately want to get rid of this fear. I need your help. I am 38 years old. — Wahid Buchha

A: What you are describing is probably post-traumatic stress disorder. This can happen after life threatening experiences. Usual stress reaction has similar presentations as PTSD but it is resolved within a short period with no reoccurrences. It does not have any long term adverse effects on daily functioning or quality of life.
Getting timely help can prevent PTSD. This includes comfort given by family and friends, some people find turning to faith helpful. This prevents using unhealthy means for examples drugs to seek comfort.
If PTSD is left untreated it can increase the risk of other mental disorders and lead to complications which include depression, anxiety and drug alcohol use and even suicidal thoughts.
I recommend that you consult a psychiatrist's who will formulate a treatment plan for you which will involve psychotherapy, and may include medications.
Factors that help in a good outcome include, good social support, lack of any prior traumatic experiences any prior psychiatric problems, for example, any substance use, and mood disorder can lead to poor outcome of the treatment.

Dr. Ayesha M. Qureshy
Asistant Professor and Consultant Psychiatrist,
Head of Mental Health Department
Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College


Q: I am an athlete, 24 years of age, and participate in 1500 meters races. Is there any way I can increase my stamina and enough body power to enhance my performance? — Javed A. Khan

A: Increasing stamina and endurance comes from self commitment, dedication and courage. There is a lot of evidence if you do aerobic activities especially running for 10 days to 4 weeks, that will show huge impact.
Basically 1500 meter running is totally aerobic based it is oxygen dependent and can produce vast quantities of ATP very efficiently, but at a much slower rate.
I advise you can divide your track into different intervals for your workout. To improve the endurance you can start from ‘warm up’ which includes full body stretches specially hamstrings and calves for lower body and for upper body biceps with proper posture.
You should be increasing the distance by 10 percent. For example, if you cover a 300m this week, you must try to run 10 percent more the next week. At the end of week you hit the ‘target distance’.
Using ‘interval workout’ is a great way to build running stamina. All you have to do is run and walk at equal intervals which is run 1 min and walk 2 min or run 2 min and walk 2 min.
‘Tempo runs’ also effectively help you to cover shorter distances but at a higher pace. Short runs help to clear lactic acid from the muscles, and enhance your capacity to run.
Explosive exercises like squat jumps, jumping lunges, and froggy jumps, not only improve oxygen consumption but also build neuromuscular control.
However strength training is also a essential component that press ups, sitting dumbbell row and tricep dips, step ups, squats, forward lunges, bilateral leg raises, planks can improve the strength of lower limbs also provide the core stability.

Mr. Hasan Abbas
Principal School of Physical therapy & Rehabilitation
Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

Q: I play squash, and I am 26 years old. Three months ago I had a twisted ankle while playing. Our club's doctor bandaged the ankle and asked me to take rest for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks I still had a pain in my ankle and till to date I am unable to return to the sport. I seek your advice and help. — Shah Jahan Khan

A: Ankle injury during squash is very common. The severity of injury ranges from simple sprain to complex fractures and ligament injuries around the ankle. Simple sprain takes a few weeks to heal. You have not been able to return to sports for three months which suggests that there is a possibility of a missed injury in the form of fracture or ligament injury.
It is recommended that you visit an orthopedic surgeon with special interest in foot and ankle. You need complete evaluation of your ankle along with some investigations in order to advise proper management to continue your game.

Dr. M. Sufyan
Assistant Professor and Consultant
Department of Orthopedic
Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

Q: I play badminton on a regular basis. Because of the latest pandemic of coronavirus, our club is closed. Is it advisible to play in my house lawn, with couple of my neighbours? — Nisar Qazi

A: As a nation this is a difficult time for everyone. Most of us are staying at home. We can make this time productive as much as possible by offering prayers, reciting Quran, by doing exercise, reading books etc. It is important to understand the concept of social distancing. People should avoid gatherings and should be at home as much as possible, to decrease the transmission of virus from one person to other person.
My advice to you is to avoid even the small gathering at home.
Keep yourself and others safe!

Dr. Sadia Amir
Assistant Professor and Consultant
Infectious Diseases Department
Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College


All the specialists on our experts’ panel are associated with Liaquat National Hospital. Please send your queries at [email protected] or [email protected])

To play or not to play