Former Andhra footballer to be India’s first tennis entry at World Transplant Games 2023

Hyderabad: Retired Indian Railways staffer and Visakhapatnam resident, 62-year-old PV Ramanaiah is poised to become the first Indian to compete in tennis at the World Transplant Games (WTG) 2023 to be held in Perth, Australia. He had undergone a liver transplant in 2017 at Gleneagles Global Hospitals Hyderabad.

His determination and passion for sports spurred Ramanaiah to break new ground by representing India in what is clearly an action sport at the WTG 2023.

PV Ramanaiah has been a sports enthusiast since an early age. He was a footballer recruited to the Indian Railways at Secunderabad in 1983 and was thriving in his sports career. He has represented India at the Junior Asian Youth Football Championship in Nepal, and also played for Andhra Pradesh at the U-19 Football Championship.

Ramanaiah’s passion for playing football and tennis took a hit when he suffered from liver-related ailments and jaundice continuously for almost three years. He was later diagnosed with fatty liver related end stage liver cirrhosis, a condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver which leads to inflammation and over a long period of time, leads to scarring of the liver. This build-up of fat is due to the family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle and improper food habits.

In 2017, when his condition worsened, he was taken to Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Hyderabad. In view of progressive liver dysfunction leading to life-threatening complications, the experts in the liver department advised the need for a liver transplant being the only way out to save his life.

He underwent pre-transplant assessment and was listed for liver transplant on the Jeevandan waiting list. After three months of waiting on close medical observation, he underwent deceased donor liver transplantation on February 2, 2017. Due to his ill pre-operative status, he had a difficult post-operative course, needing intermittent dialysis to support poor kidney function, tailored immunosuppression along with nutritional support and round the clock rehabilitation services. He was discharged in a stable condition in a month’s time.

Commenting on the achievement by Ramanaiah, Dr. Riyaz Khan, Cluster CEO Gleneagles Global Hospitals said, “Ramanaiah was diagnosed with decompensated liver cirrhosis, ascites, jaundice, and hepatic encephalopathy with MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) score 20. After 5 years of liver transplant, this is a proud moment for us as well as to see him represent the country in an international sports meet.”

Following his liver transplant, Ramanaiah was able to resume an active lifestyle and indulge in his love for sports, taking up tennis and participating in several local tournaments in Andhra Pradesh once again.

To celebrate his second chance at life and show his passion for tennis he thought of representing India globally. In August 2022, he participated in a 5-day camp organized by Organ Receiving & Giving Awareness Network (ORGAN) India, in collaboration with Dr. OP Bhalla Foundation at the Manav Rachna Sports Science Center (MRSSC). The camp was organized to assess the fitness and ability of aspiring athletes who wished to participate in the World Transplant Games 2023. PV Ramanaiah was cleared by the team at MRSSC and certified physically fit to take part in the Games to be held from April 15 to 21.

ORGAN India has been appointed by the World Transplant Games Federation as the official member organization from India.

Established in 1978, the World Transplant Games Federation is a worldwide organization that has representation from more than sixty countries that celebrates successful transplantation and the gift of life through unique and inspiring events.

The main aim of these games is to raise public awareness of the importance and benefits of organ donation by demonstrating the health and fitness that can be achieved post-transplant and encourage all participants to remain fit and healthy post organ transplants.

Expressing his joy on the occasion, Ramanaiah commented, “I am delighted to have this opportunity to take India to greater heights by doing what I love the most. When I discovered about my liver condition, I was devastated, but the assistance and support from the doctors at Gleneagles Global Hospitals helped me get through the rough patch in my life. I am grateful to all the doctors, physiotherapists and staff who provided the best care and helped me regain my strength in no time because of which I am able to participate in the World Transplant Games.”

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