A Qatari triathlon athlete who sustained severe injuries as a result of a traffic accident has made a full recovery and praised Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) for the care he received after undergoing two extensive surgeries to repair his spine and shoulder.
Last year, Muath al-Qasimi, a 30-year-old Qatari national, was preparing to participate in Ironman Austria, an annual event that attracts 3,000 athletes from over 60 countries and consists of a 3.8km swim, a 180km bicycle ride and a 42km run.
While riding his bike in preparation for the event, he was struck by a car.
Al-Qasimi was rushed to the Hamad General Hospital by ambulance and diagnosed with a severe spinal fracture and complete dislocation of his right shoulder.
A team of surgeons, led by Dr Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, performed urgent surgery on his spine, followed by a second surgery to repair his shoulder.
Al-Qasimi remained in hospital for a month before being transferred to QRI where he began an intensive two-month, inpatient rehabilitation programme.
A member of the QTRI Triathlon Club since 2017, al-Qasimi said the support of care teams at HMC and the encouragement of family and friends got him through what was a difficult recovery.
“I was so confused. I felt devastated at the thought of losing my ability to practice my sport and accomplish my hopes and dreams. Thankfully, with the support of my family and friends and the medical teams at HMC, I regained my confidence and my health,” he said.
“After undergoing surgery at Hamad General Hospital, I was transferred to QRI. This was a major milestone in my treatment journey. The first week was very hard, as I could not walk or stand.
Manoj Kumar Ranabhat
Bassam Abdelmaged Esmail
My therapists supported me with easy exercises that helped me relearn how to walk. One of my therapists recommended I wear my training outfits while completing my rehabilitation exercises because he knew how much I loved my sport. I think he knew that seeing myself as an athlete again would help create a more positive, mindful experience,” said al-Qasimi.
“Slowly, the exercises became more advanced and my health progressed. Soon, I was able to walk short distances and eventually run. Two months after beginning my rehab programme at QRI, I had recovered enough to be discharged and was able to complete my rehabilitation in outpatient clinics,” added al-Qasimi.
“I thank God that I have recovered and that I did not choose to have my treatment abroad. The care I received at HMC here in Qatar was wonderful,” concluded al-Qasimi.
Bassam Abdelmaged Esmail, a physiotherapy specialist at QRI, said the rehabilitation facility uses a model that is "patient-centred, team-based and multifaceted".
“When Muath came to QRI’s inpatient rehabilitation care unit, he was experiencing severe pain that restricted his range of motion and overall function. We started the physiotherapy programme by introducing simple manual physical therapy exercises that are designed to promote movement in the joints and improve overall flexibility.
“As his condition improved, we incorporated resistant bands, exercise balls and other forms of rehabilitation equipment,” said Esmail, who was al-Qasimi’s case superviser.
“Muath was a committed, co-operative and enthusiastic patient. No matter how simple or repetitive the exercise, he demonstrated a positive attitude. He was determined to regain his physical fitness and independence and to master each task.
“His positive attitude and his young age helped him recover quickly,” added Esmail.
Manoj Kumar Ranabhat, occupational therapy specialist at QRI, said al-Qasimi’s rehabilitation programme consisted of physiotherapy, which focused on improving mobility and function, and occupational therapy, which focused on helping him live as independently as possible. His care team also used hydrotherapy to improve muscle strength and endurance.
Ranabhat explained that the rehabilitation programme began with practicing simple tasks designed to help the patient perform the activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing and getting dressed.
He said within four weeks al-Qasimi’s condition had improved by around 70%.
Today, al-Qasimi is fully recovered and has resumed training for his favourite sport – the triathlon. He has competed in several local races and currently trains five days a week. He still dreams of competing in an Ironman triathlon and says he will realise this dream and will be proud to represent Qatar on the international stage.