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Sandeep’s Story – Occupational Health

Sandeep with Frankel after he stormed home in the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes. PA Images.

Sandeep Gauravaram works for trainer Andrew Balding as a work rider and has enjoyed a lengthy career in racing, looking after some talented horses – none more so than Frankel. Sandeep’s smiling face became a familiar one after walking the unbeaten champion into the winner’s enclosure after every one of his fourteen victories.

But like so many racing staff, Sandeep has also faced challenges and required occupational health support from Racing Welfare following a fall which left him struggling with back pain and subsequently unable to ride.

Anna Lisa Balding, wife of trainer Andrew, has used Racing Welfare’s occupational health service for a number of staff at Kingsclere in the past and contacted local welfare manager, Brian, to arrange support for Sandeep.

Sandeep was advised by his doctor that he would require injections in his back to treat the pain, for which the waiting list was eight months. Sandeep, whose passion and livelihood is horses, was understandably keen to get back to work as soon as possible. It was through Racing Welfare’s occupational health service that Brian was able to access treatment within two weeks for Sandeep.

Sandeep said: ‘The process of getting the treatment through Racing Welfare’s occupational health service was very prompt. The first injection was almost like magic, the next morning I felt like I had a new back, I couldn’t even straighten it before the injection. I could barely walk and could only lift around a kilo, I was really struggling.  I am now back riding again, and with Racing Welfare’s help it’s manageable now.

“Without that help, I don’t even think I would be able to go into the yard and help out because I was desperate towards the end, I could only stand for half an hour without sitting down. To get up from there was a struggle as well.

‘The doctor has said I need a further injection in the other side of my back which is still a little sore so it’s an ongoing process. I have another appointment in a few weeks.

“Without the treatment, I would still be lying in bed waiting to hear from the doctors.”

Anna Lisa recognised that Sandeep, who loves his horses and his regular rides, was becoming frustrated and required treatment as soon as possible. She recalls: ‘The problem was, he wasn’t riding and if you can’t ride then pushing a wheelbarrow hurts just as much. Racing Welfare did a brilliant job in ensuring the MRI could be done and then he went to the consultant who was able to give him the injection.

“He was back to work three days later and fine to ride.

‘The one thing you don’t want is someone sad around the place or in pain, it’s not nice for anyone to see that. He’s got a family and you’d hate to think that an injury sustained at work was hindering his family life as well.

“He was back to his normal self after the treatment which was lovely to see.”

If you need support through Racing Welfare’s Occupational Health Service, call us on 0800 6300 443 and you can find out more information about the service here.