Basketball: TCM boost for national basketball players

National basketballer Foo Ce Xian being treated with the cervical traction device administered by a therapist at KTT.
National basketballer Foo Ce Xian being treated with the cervical traction device administered by a therapist at KTT.ST PHOTO: TAMARA CRAIU

The Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) is looking to make strides in the future but has turned to the past for help. Specifically to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that is.

Yesterday, it signed a two-year partnership worth an estimated $200,000 with TCM service provider Kin Teck Tong (KTT). The collaboration will see KTT provide treatment services to national and age-group players, with an option of a renewal each year.

Each national basketballer will be entitled to a $1,000 package to undergo treatment, which includes TCM techniques like acupuncture and "tuina" massage, for sports-related injuries at KTT for a year. Younger age-group players and BAS committee members will enjoy discounted packages too.

In return, BAS will help KTT in its marketing efforts, for instance by encouraging the athletes to share their positive experiences with TCM through social media or appearances at marketing events.

This is KTT's second collaboration with a national sports association. It announced a one-year tie-up worth $280,000 with Singapore Athletics (SA) in December.

BAS' honorary secretary Ong Swee Teck said: "Our basketballers will be able to receive the help they need in recovering from long-term sports injuries. They would then be more ready and focused on training and playing for Singapore."

At the signing ceremony, officials from both sides were keen to offer assurances with tuina in the spotlight, after a 26-year-old woman suffered seizures halfway through a tuina session, went into a coma and died on Sunday.

KTT's executive director Coco Zhang said: "We have processes and procedures in place to ensure treatment is safe. For example, patients need to have a consultation with the physician first. Also, they can use a bell to call for our attention if they feel uncomfortable."

Ong also believes there are no concerns regarding the athletes' safety. Having been through four sessions at KTT himself, he said: "There is already a prior endorsement (from SA). That gave us additional assurance that (KTT) is a serious partner to work with. I have confidence in what they're doing."

National player Foo Ce Xian is a strong advocate of TCM treatment, after having gone through several sessions in the past.

The 20-year-old, who is nursing an ankle injury, said: "Ankle injuries usually take two to four weeks (to recover). If we can speed up the process of recovery, we can get back to training faster. So I believe this (partnership) is quite good."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2016, with the headline 'TCM boost for local basketball'. Print Edition | Subscribe