This is the story of Saneesh Babu who now works as an Assistant Administrator at the High Altitude Sports Training Centre in Munnar.

This aspiring Kerala footballer is now paralysed you can help him build his house
news Sports Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 19:01

One of the first questions that Saneesh Babu asks when TNM contacts him is, “Will people come forward to help me after reading this story?”

Talking to TNM from Munnar where he is working as an Assistant Administrator at the High Altitude Sports Training Centre, 26-year-old Saneesh Babu wants to tell his story to the world.

A story about the days of yore, when he was a star player in the Kerala University football team. A story about how an accident on the field changed his life. An accident that left the right side of his body paralysed, forcing him to leave the one thing in this world that he loved the most - Football.

What happened with Saneesh?

Hailing from Thodupuzha in Kerala, Saneesh, just like every other boy in the state adored the game of football.

His entry into professional level football happened at the age of 12 when he saw an advertisement in a local newspaper, which called for aspiring footballers to take part in a selection camp organised by former Kerala Santosh trophy player, Salimkutty PA. Salimkutty is also a member of the Sports and Games Welfare Association (SAGWA) in Thodupuzha.

After one year of intense coaching under Salimkutty, Saneesh made it to the Kerala sub-junior team. “This camp not only helped me improve my game but also introduced me to Salimkutty chettan who is now more than just a mentor for me,” says Saneesh.

Saneesh lived with his parents, who are daily wage labourers, in a rented house in Thodupuzha.

“It used to be very difficult for us to manage all the expenses but when I started playing professional football, my education was taken care of by the Sports Council of India,” says Saneesh.

“In order to improve my game, Salimkutty enrolled me at the Panampally Sports Academy in Kochi when I was in 10th standard,” says Saneesh who goes on to add that after his tenth exams, he shifted to Thiruvananthapuram to train at the Kerala State Sports Council.

Like always, his football skills got him scholarships in the institutions he studied. After completing his schooling, he was selected to be a part of the Mahindra United junior football team in Mumbai where he played for over a year.

Following his stint at Mahindra United, Saneesh got admission at MG College, Thiruvananthapuram under the sports quota. He went on to represent the Kerala University football team under the guidance of coach Sathevan Balan, who was also the coach of the Kerala football team which won the Santosh trophy this year.

A career that should have only gone upwards from there for Saneesh Babu came to a halt in 2012. It was a university match against Annamalai University in Chidambaram which changed everything for Saneesh and his family.

“I clearly remember that moment,” says Saneesh wistfully.

“I remember a player from the opposite team kicking the ball in front of me and in that motion, his boot came and struck my head…,” says Saneesh, stopping for a moment.

After a pause, Saneesh goes on to narrate what happened to him after the accident.

“I spent one month in treatment at the Pondicherry Institute Of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where I was in the ventilator for a week because of a blood clot in my head,” says Saneesh.

The blood clot led to the right side of his body being paralysed and also left him with poor vision.

“I still remember that day, one month after the treatment, when the doctors came to me and told me that I won’t be able to play football ever again,” Saneesh says, taking a deep breath.

“I don’t remember what I was thinking at that moment, I just didn’t know what to say,” Saneesh adds.

Not being able to play football meant that he was not able to pursue his degree as he got the admission through sports quota. This led to a situation where he could neither pursue his footballing career nor his studies.

Following his treatment at PIMS, Saneesh was taken to Kolenchery Medical College (KMC) in Ernakulam for further treatment.

The medical expenses were taking a toll on Saneesh and his family. “Apart from the hospital expenses, the medicines alone used to come up to around Rs. 6,000 every month and I was beginning to get tired with so many medicines,” says Saneesh.

“During one of the check-ups, the Neurosurgeon at KMC said that there is no point in having all these medicines, as my condition will only improve gradually if at all it does,” says Saneesh.

It was around this time that Salimkutty gave the news to Malayala Manorama about Saneesh Babu’s condition, following which the Kerala Sports Council offered him a job as an Assistant Administrator at the Munnar High Altitude Training Centre.

“Salimkutty chettan has always stood by my side and he still continues to support me and my family,” says an emotional Saneesh Kumar.

Meanwhile, Salimkutty as well as the other members of the SAGWA are trying to build a house for Saneesh and his family in Thodupuzha.

“We are looking to a build a house in a land of 6 cents. We require at least Rs. 8 lakhs for this,” says Salimkutty talking to TNM. He adds that they have managed to collect around Rs. 1 lakh so far.

After various Malayalam media including Asianet and other local newspapers started picking Saneesh Babu’s story, organizations like the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) and UAE exchange have offered to build a house for Saneesh and his family. 

“AMMA has informed us that they will take care of the entire construction of the house provided we find them the land to build it,” said Salimkutty P.A talking to TNM. 

“We found an area of 5 cents inside the Thodupuzha Municipality which costs around Rs. 8 lakshs,” he said. He also went on to add that they have collected around Rs. 1 lakh so far. 

“If we don’t do anything to support players like Saneesh, tomorrow, I don’t think any youngster will have the confidence or the courage to take up competitive sports in our country,” says Salimkutty.

 If you wish to help Saneesh, call  on : +91 9497340890

His account details are:

Name: Saneesh Babu

Account number: 67201724199

Bank: State Bank Of India

Place: Thekkumbhagom

IFSC Code: SBIN0070408

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.