Doctor warns against playing cricket on Everest

January 31st, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Kathmandu, Jan 31 (ANI): A Nepalese doctor, who specialises in high altitude health, has warned a group of cricketers heading to Mount Everest to play a high altitude Twenty20 match not to over-exert themselves.

The highest cricket game on record is scheduled for April 21. A team of 50, including 22 players, will trek for nine days to reach an altitude of 5,000metres for the game.

The two teams named — Team Hillary and Team Tenzing — will take on each other under the captainship of England captain Andrew Strauss and vice-captain Alastair Cook in a bid to set a world record for playing the highest ever official sports match and raise 550,000 dollars for the Himalayan Trust and British childrens charity Lords Taverners.

Dr Buddha Basnyat said a lack of oxygen could pose a danger to the cricketers playing at a frenetic pace.

He said the lack of oxygen at high altitudes posed a challenge to the players. Oxygen levels at the height are only half what they are at sea level. That can produce illness, sometimes fatal, even for people not running around chasing a ball.

The important thing is, if people arent feeling well and yet push themselves to play, especially if they exert themselves, that can predispose them to altitude sickness, Dr Basnyat said.

Commenting on acclimatisation of players, Dr Basnyat said if the players had headache or nausea it would not be a good idea to push yourself.

Basically the players should listen to their own bodies, he added. Acute mountain sickness, with symptoms such as headaches and vomiting, can easily develop into the much more serious high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or pulmonary edema (HAPE).

The cricketers trip is described as one of nine days and Dr Basnyat said he hopes that means nine days until the match is played - not nine days there and back.

Not surprisingly, he says bowlers and batsmen will be more at risk, with fielding relatively easy.

A self-confessed cricket obsessive from Cheltenham in western England, Richard Kirtley, is organising the Twenty20 match at Gorak Shep, 5,100 metres above sea level.

His team of 50, including 22 players, eight reserves, groundsmen and medics, plans to trek there and play the game whatever the weather blizzards or clear blue skies. (ANI)

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