Hindustan Times (Delhi)

The hands that heal footballin­g champions

- Somshuvra Laha somshuvra.laha@hindustant­imes.com

KOLKATA: Shona Miranda’s job is all about healing injuries and niggles and keeping footballer­s in the best shape possible. That she is at the beck and calling of a men’s team doesn’t bother her at all.

Physiother­apist for reigning I-League and Federation Cup champions Churchill Brothers for five years now, Miranda is also the only woman in that role in top flight Indian football. “It’s something I love doing as I get a positive outcome. That I work with men makes no difference to me,” said Miranda who is also from Goa.

Miranda’s first fling with profession­al physiother­apy was during her internship under former India cricket team physio Ali Irani at Mumbai’s Nanavati hospital and amidst cricketers past and present. “Anil (Kumble) used to come often and so did Mohammed Azharuddin as he suffered from shoulder pains,” said the 27-yearold. According to Miranda, one of the main reasons she entered the profession was her cousin brother Lloyd Simoes who was also a physio with Salgaocar.

“We are always so used to seeing men in the support staff of football teams. Lloyd helped me a lot. But Dr Irani was the driving force. My boss at Churchill said I had to become the team’s physio and my dad was beside me all the time,” said Miranda who joined Churchill Brothers in 2009.

The five years with Churchill Brothers Miranda feels has improved her as a physiother­apist. “You get to see a lot of different injuries. Most of them are musculo-skeletal injuries. And the way you treat a foreign footballer is completely different from how you treat an Indian. So the experience has been good so far,” she said. Barring the few years when Air India used to have women physiother­apists earlier in the decade, India’s football clubs have rarely had any female presence in the team.

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Shona Miranda

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