Direct or indirect use of tobacco will mar potential sporting careers

August 18th, 2012 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 18 (IANS) Former India shuttler U Vimal Kumar’s advice for parents who want their children to be sporting personalities is that they should quit using all types of tobacco.

Kumar, who hails from Kerala and is the co-founder, director and chief coach of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, said the lifestyle of parents and their mentors have a direct impact on children.

“It is important that parents keep away from smoking and use of other forms of tobacco if they have sporting aspirations for their child,” said the former national, French Open and Welsh International Open badminton champion.

“At an impressionable age, children quickly imbibe whatever is done by parents and elders. A child gets the wrong message when seeing an elder person spit out ‘paan’ from moving vehicles,” added Kumar, who was the Chief National Coach in badminton.

Another expert points out that any tobacco use, adversely impacts stamina building, which is vital for a sportsperson.

George Mathews, medical officer, Sports Authority of India (SAI) here, said one of the most important factors determining the stamina of the athlete is the ability of the lungs to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere. In smokers, this is impaired and they find themselves out of breath quicker than non-smokers.

“Tobacco results in weaker bones and tendons with an increased susceptibility to injuries. Once injured, a smoker would find it tougher to recover. Calcium and other nutrient absorption are also reduced,” said Mathews, who is also a senior faculty member at the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education here.

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