Wednesday, October 20, 2010


National coach Stephen van Huizen will ony know next Monday if he can travel with the team for the Asian Games.

Stephen suffered a spinal injury after a fall he suffered towards the end of the 7/8th placing match against Canada during the Commonwealth Games. The fall resulted him in suffering on L1-L3 of his spine that could have resulted in temporary paralysis.

"We are going to refer him to a spinal specialist in a day or two and shall be able to determine if he is fit to carry out his responsibilities with the team for the Asian Games, " said National Sports Institute Director General Dato Dr. Ramlan Abdul Aziz.

"He was given the due care in New Delhi and from the results thus far, it may not be that serious. But we will not take any risks.

"There are two options open to us, either Stephen travels with the team but his role maybe limited to certain aspects, or he is replaced by another coach.

"I will provide the medical opinion for the consideration of MHF and its up to them to make the necessary decisions. But suffice to say we cannot risks further damage to his spine and hence ISN has given him medical leave.

"He should refrain from coaching until we can determine the extent of the injury as there are complications that can arise if proper care is not given. On the hindsight though, he seems to be coping well and is mentally strong, other then the discomfort and pain, Stephen is responding well to treatment.

"But since its a case of the spine, we need to consult a spinal specialist and await the report."

When contacted, Stephen said that he has informed MHF with regards to his medical condition and is awaiting an appointment with the spinal specialist.

"It was an accident as I missed some steps when making my way to the changing room after the match," recalled Stephen.

"The pain was unbearable after the team talk and I was taken to hospital where a scan and MRI was conducted. It was there that the doctors told me of the extent of my injury. And te recovery period was set between 4 to 6 weeks.

"I feel discomfort when moving around but will do all I can to help the team in training in the next few days with Beng Hai and Nor Saiful carrying out the coaching duties.
"As for the Asian Games, I will await the completion of the tests conducted by the spinal specialist and take it from there."

In a related development, it has been reported in the Pakistan media that Pakistan and Malaysia will play two Test matches after Deepavali (on November 5) in preparation for the Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Malaysia will host the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from the 5th to 15th May and the teams conformed thus far are England, South Korea, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, either Spain or Australia plus hosts Malaysia.

In addition, Malaysia will play in the Champions Challenge II, that will be held in Lille, France from the 19th to 25th of June. The countries competing are Austria, Czechoslovakia, China, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Scotland and France.