Putting in ‘hard yards’ for Dusi

2016-02-09 06:00
The Elite Athlete Development Programme team (from left) Nande Mjajubana (physio), Sbonelo Khwela (paddling partner), Banetse Nkhoesa, Mondli Linda (bio), Dr Kevin Subban. Photo: supplied

The Elite Athlete Development Programme team (from left) Nande Mjajubana (physio), Sbonelo Khwela (paddling partner), Banetse Nkhoesa, Mondli Linda (bio), Dr Kevin Subban. Photo: supplied

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EMERGING Shongweni paddling star Banetse Nkhoesa is on track to completing a miraculous recovery from a shoulder and lung injury in a December stabbing.
To this end he has the KwaZulu-Natal’s Elite Athlete Development Programme to thank for being able to take his place at the FNB Dusi start line on Thursday 18 February.
The 22-year-old Team Euro Steel star has been working with Dr Kevin Subban at the Prime Human Performance Institute over the past two months to get him to a level where he is fit enough to compete at, arguably, the toughest canoe marathon in South Africa.
“I was contacted while overseas and was told that Banetse had been stabbed,” Dr Subban, the doctor for the South African Olympic team, said.
“I didn’t know the extent of the injury until I got back to South Africa where I discovered he had actually punctured his left lung.
“You never know if the lung is punctured until you take X-rays, but the intensity of pain and the difficulty in breathing suggested this.”
The incident happened while Nkhoesa and his partner, 2014 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon winner, Sbonelo Khwela were well into their preparations for the 2016 event and Dr Subban was happy with how they were coming along, until that fateful day.
“The two had been going really well before Banetse was stabbed and they were training hard at Prime and we were helping them with some small niggles they had, but this came as a shock to both of them.”
Lung functionality is critical in endurance sports and with the Dusi being such a physically demanding event having maximum lung functionality is an important part of being competitive over the three-day race.
“We did a lung function test on him recently which measured according to height, weight, age etc., and you have a standard norm, which for a person his age should be around 4.5 litres.
“He only came in at about four litres so we think this lack of functionality is due to the puncture in his left lung.
“They say that one should start feeling better after six weeks. You will still feel pain, but the lung capacity improves, however, it could be months until he has the same functionality as he had before the accident,” explained Dr Subban.
“Once an athlete gets injured the common reaction is that all is lost, but with no guarantee with regards to the lung recovery, he said he was going to give it 110% so I think the strength of his mental state has helped him to recover so well,” he said.
With a six to eight-week period within which a punctured lung should repair, that was the distance from when the incident happened to the start of the 2016 FNB Dusi, which has meant that Nkhoesa’s recovery has been exceptional.
“The start of the Dusi will be around the same time where you would start your rehabilitation, but the one advantage that both Sbonelo and Banetse have is they have put in the hard yards before.
“Their fitness levels were high which, to Banetse’s advantage, has helped him recover faster.
“We have been pushing him [Nkhoesa] for the past week and he has been coming through,” said Dr Subban.
More information can be found at www.eadp.co.za - Supplied.

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