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Hockey India Crises: Surender Kumar Hospitalised Again, High-Performance Director Resigns

Surender Kumar, one of five players who tested positive for Covid-19 was admitted to the hospital due to Venous Thrombosis, in his arm. High Performance Director David John has resigned from his role over conflicts with the management.
Indian hockey team defender Surender Kumar

Indian hockey team defender Surender Kumar was under quarantine with five other players at SAI’s Bengaluru centre after they were discharged from hospital following treatment for Covid-19.

Indian men's hockey team defender Surender Kumar, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month, was readmitted to the hospital due to Venous Thrombosis (VT) in his arm.

Surender was among six-players — captain Manpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar, goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak and striker Mandeep Singh who tested positive for coronavirus. All six were discharged from SS Sparsh Multispeciality hospital in Bengaluru on Monday after making a full recovery.

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But after a blood clot formed in his arm, Surender was readmitted to the hospital on Thursday evening, Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement.

"Due to VT, he has formed a blood clot in the upper limb and has thus been admitted to hospital for the period of two to three days during which treatment and medication would be given for recovery," the SAI statement said.

"SAI officials had a conference call with the treating doctor who has informed that the condition of Surender Kumar is stable and there is no cause for concern at present," it added.

"During a regular online check-up, Surender informed the doctors that he has developed a swelling on the left arm. So as a precautionary measure he has been shifted to the same hospital," a SAI source told PTI.

"He is completely fine. He doesn't have any Covid-19 symptoms but as a precautionary measure he will undergo all necessary tests to find out if it is related to Covid or not."

Surender was under quarantine with other players at SAI’s Bengaluru centre after they were discharged. "All the six players are housed in the ground floor of the hostel, where other members of the camp have no access," SAI had said on Monday.

David John Resigns

Hockey India’s high-performance director David John resigned days after his contract was renewed by the sports ministry till September, next year. Though the federation has accepted the resignation, SAI is yet to respond to it in writing.

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It is understood that John cited personal and health issues as reasons for his resignation. According to sources though, the decision was taken after John was asked to come to Hockey India’s office every day and expected to visit training centres around the country with the country is still fighting a pandemic.

“In May, Hockey India’s office had to be shut down after two staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. “David was not comfortable to travel to the office and other cities in the country as it posed health risks. There was a difference of opinion over this issue and he eventually offered to quit,” a source said.

John has frequently clashed with the federation over his role in the past few years. After India’s disappointing performance at the Asian Games, John was one of very few who put the onus of the performance on the players, and was clear about the fallout it would have on future selection. Within a month of his remarks, then newly appointed HI President Musthaque Ahmed dropped John from the selection committee for the senior men’s team. 

In his tenure he had also recommended that player workload be monitored, and was in charge of the team for a period when no coach had been appointed — for the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament last year. Neither HI nor John have commented publicly on the matter yet.

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