The 28-year-old midfielder is currently training at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.

It’s been a little over a month since Indian men’s hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh along with five other players tested positive for Covid-19. While his symptoms were mild, there were anxious times that demanded him to remain upbeat.

“It was not easy, especially mentally” is his prompt response when asked to describe the time spent in hospital and subsequently going through isolation in SAI, Bengaluru while the rest of his teammates had begun sports activities. He added, “I have not done anything for a month and that’s a long time in a sportsperson’s career especially when every day is about improving and being the best.”

Manpreet Singh and five other players who were tested positive for the Covid-19 virus feel fortunate to have a fantastic support system that constantly monitored their well-being. He explained, “To be honest, initially when the results came out, we were slightly stressed. But Hockey India was quick to assure us of all the support and told us not to worry about hockey or how this will impact our future in the sport. This was reassuring and true to their words, we received best facilities in the hospital with SAI sending us healthy food every day for the five days that we were in the hospital and constantly checked with the medical team there of our well-being.”

He emphasized that during the isolation in SAI for two weeks, they were checked on every day by Hockey India officials to know if there were any shortfalls. Manpreet Singh said, “Hockey India officials would check on us almost every day if the food being provided is good if our tele-treatment was done regularly if we are monitoring our oxygen levels regularly and so on.”

“Coaching staff and teammates too would check on us through video calls. These things really helped us remain upbeat. Though it did sting a little to know all our teammates were back on the pitch while we were still in isolation, I feel this experience has made me mentally tougher to face any situation.”

Manpreet and five other teammates on completing the isolation were put through general tests after which the doctors expressed, they were fit to resume activities. He said, “We underwent a general check-up after two weeks of isolation. We got ECG, blood test and chest X-ray was done and only after the doctor gave us a go-ahead, we have begun very basic activities from last week. While SAI is putting together a post-recovery action plan to ensure a smooth return to sports activities, chief coach engages in a one-on-one pep talk with us that gives us the confidence of returning to old form soon. Our scientific advisor Robin Arkel has been a great support too since the Covid-19 pandemic began.”

Looking back at the past five months which involved over two months of staying indoors in SAI, Bengaluru Manpreet Singh said as players they are fortunate to receive the best care. The midfielder stated, “From my personal experience, I can say we were very fortunate to get the best care. All through the lockdown, good coordination between Hockey India and SAI ensured players’ best interest was given top priority. Our fitness was maintained throughout with a good indoor workout regime planned by the Support Staff.”

“We were given a break just when we were starting to feel mentally fatigued and had begun missing our families. When we came back, the authorities ensured we were all tested, provided the best care and a secure bio bubble was formed in the campus to keep us from getting exposed to the virus,” he concluded.