Sports medicine expert and consultant, 2010 FIFA World Cup speaks to YNaija. Excerpts:
How and when did you decide to pursue a career in Sports medicine?
During my first year of clinical school at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, it immediately hit me that the life of a clinician gave little room for experimenting. This and my love for sports drove me to pursue a different career path from my peers.
When and how did you have your big break in sports medicine?
My first big break came when I heard about an appointment for a Medical Officer at the CAF African Football Cup of Nations hosted in Ghana. At the time, I had no contacts in Ghana, but I got on a plane and spent a whole day sitting outside the office of the Chairman of the Medical Committee of the Tournament. I got my “five minutes”, and he asked me if I could begin immediately as there was a patient he needed me to see.
What has been your most recent career highlight?
I was recently appointed by Dr. Victor Ramathesele, Chief Medical Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, to serve as a Consultant Sports Physician at the event where I delivered medical services to the world’s best footballers, including Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba.
What trainings have you engaged in to further equip you for the highest level of health service provision?
In February 2010, I was admitted as a member of the FIFA International Football Medicine Network by the FIFA Medical Office in Geneva Switzerland and have since completed the FIFA Football Emergency Medicine Postgraduate Certificate program at the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence Johannesburg. I also underwent additional undergraduate training in Sports Medicine at the Columbia University New York Center for Shoulder Elbow and Sports Medicine in 2005 and Postgraduate certifications in Sports Medicine from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA and FIBA (Federation for International Basketball). In October 2010, I was admitted as an Mphil/PhD Candidate in Sports and Exercise Medicine by the Faculty of the University of Cape Town Sports Medicine Program in South Africa.
How would you describe the importance and impact of technology on your work? How ready is Nigeria for the deployment of cutting edge technology in sports medicine?
The Nigerian health industry needs to make a better effort at responding to the patients’ needs. Technology and design are driven by the people’s needs. Although Nigeria has been a late adopter of healthcare technology and design mainly because of a lack of financing, this is changing rapidly with a lot more investors seeking out healthcare-focused investments.
Why did you venture into the South African market, and how would you compare that system with Nigeria?
My practice in South Africa was a case of opportunity meeting preparation. The FIFA Medical Office was looking for experts across the continent to contribute to the event and in February 2010, I was selected as one of the 10 African Sports Medicine experts invited to present their research at the first FIFA Football Medicine Conference in Sun City South Africa in preparation for the World Cup.
Which appointments have been the most memorable?
My recent appointment as Team Doctor of the Dodan Warriors Basketball team during the ongoingNBBF/DSTV Super 8 Playoffs where they won a silver medal.
What major challenges have you faced in your career and how were you able to tackle them?
The major challenge for anyone who is trying new things is a lack of faith and confidence in your endeavour. I have faced and still face a lot of scepticism. However, my performance is gradually displacing every doubt.
What key projects are you involved in at the moment and how do you hope to achieve your goals with them?
I recently opened the first private Sports Medicine Clinic in Nigeria and the market response has been remarkable. I am already talking to a few investors to open a world-class Sports Medicine facility. Also, I’m particularly excited about two television projects I’m directly involved in: one is a medical talk show to launch next year and the other is a start-up travel channel for pay-tv in Africa – “Ajala”.
How did you secure the deal to pilot a pan-African medical talk show with Viasat 1 in Ghana?
The media is always fresh, thus my attraction to it. I believe television is the most influential medium with which to reach people and close the information gap. I had a chance meeting with the Chief Executive of Modern African Production. MAP, is part of the international entertainment group, Modern Times Group MTG AB. MTG is the largest TV operator in Scandinavia and the Baltic States. I shared my dream and my ideas with him and The Dr. DO Show is scheduled to air in the second quarter of 2012 on the leading Pay TV and free-to-zir stations across Africa. Y!