Its 3 p.m on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Two toddlers, Betty Namukwaya, aged 2 is found soiled in the compound with his older sibling, Ronald Nyanzi, 4, as they passionately enjoy their play .
Their mother is busy sun drying clothes as they await the return of the footballing father, Reagan Lutankoome, the sole bread winner in the family.
As fate would dictate, the trio is treated to the worst news ever – Lutankoome has collapsed dead during a session in club training drills ahead of the coming football season.
In a space of less than two years, the Ugandan sporting fraternity has been shocked with such tales involving gallant players succumbing to death in similar fashion – only to leave behind bereaved family members.
The rugby front were shocked as Yusuf ‘Baban’ Zaidi, a Jinja based player with Nile Rugby club collapsed and died during a Uganda Cup game against the Buffaloes in July 2013.
Just this year, two footballers died in similar circumstances during fixtures.
Farouk Ssekimwanyi, based in Kyengera, a Kampala suburb collapsed during an evening training session and was pronounced dead on the way to a nearby dispensary.
Then followed the most recent when Lweza football club striker Frank ‘Majja’ Lutalo, who was reportedly said to have been having a well long documentated history of a suspected brain tremor suffered a head injury during training which ‘might’ have aggravated the situation that later led to his death.
There are lots of unreported cases of sports injuries among sportsmen across the nation and beyond the boarder.
Back in 2009, Alex Katete, a footballer based in Silichar, India suffered a sudden heart attack while on duty and died moments later.
Life is precious and there is urgent need to address the ever escalating trend at which Ugandan sportsmen are losing careers lest their lives.
To arrest the situation, various sporting federations in the country ought to realize in a record time the significance of protecting life.
First, federations are tasked to employ trained medical doctors and sports physiotherapists.
There are multiple cases reported where players never get any access to any form of counseling in line with guiding them as far as conduct on and off the sporting arenas is concerned.
Emphasis should be stressed on regular training of recruited medics and physiotherapists, who are tasked with the sportsmen life protection and counseling respectively.
It is alarmingly worrying to note that several sporting federations in the country – Rugby, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Netball , Volleyball, Swimming, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, Tennis and the rest have a sizable number of qualified medical personnel and physiotherapists.
When it rolls down to the individual clubs, the situation becomes unbearable and appalling as majority of the teams employ unqualified medical staff to handle the delicate life issues of players’ health.
Little wonder, players have chronic injuries which they play with over the years – a risky situation as far as injury rehabilitation and handling is concerned.
Majority of club medics ‘learn on the job‘ as there are also obvious issues that will give them a hard time – especially as concerns injury protection and management, injury treatment and the full rehabilitation process after suffering injuries.
It will not surprise you when these ‘club medics’ even go ahead to prescribe drugs, advise use of food supplements and are less informed about player diet and sports nutrition in general.
It is therefore incumbent upon several sporting federations to employ qualified sports physiotherapists in line with protection of the delicate and precious lives of the sportsmen.