Kirill Rogovik: “Helping others is crucial”

Interviews 14 May 2020
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The doctor Kirill Rogovik is working at Dynamo Brest for several months. He started career as a regular medic in a hospital, now he possesses a great experience in sporting sphere. The specialist tells about professional choice, talks about the quality of Belarusian medicine and gives promise to write a book about his career in football.

Why have you decided to move to Dynamo Brest?

First, this is the team of champions. Second, the possibility to take part in the Champions League. This tournament is loved not only by footballers, but by doctors. This is a certain challenge that will test your medical skills and football understanding. This is the peak of the career. These are international competitions. And, surely, this is the team, footballers. I’ve got acquainted to the lads before moving here. I liked the team, so I accepted the offer.

Where have you been working before Dynamo Brest?

I’ve been working at BATE: from their academy to the first team. Also, I had a short term at FC Minsk, took part in Europa League with them. We won the Cup and took part in the UEL qualifications. Then I moved to Shakhter Soligorsk, but quit the club together with the coaching staff, who had invited me. Then there was the national basketball team. I decided to change the kind of sports, because I had a little kid and wished to work without long trips. After it, I’ve been working at BC Tsmoki Minsk, before moving to FC Dinamo Minsk. Then followed my move to Brest.

You’ve been working in sports medicine for your whole career. Or was there a period, when you’ve been working as a regular civil doctor?

Of course, there was. I’ve been a surgeon, having been working for three years after university. Then I moved to sports medicine. I desired to deal with it, and I’m happy I managed to succeed.

When have you decided to become a doctor? What influenced on your choice?

There are many doctors in my family. My aunts, uncles, cousins are connected with medicine. Someone works as a dentist, someone as a therapist, so I was always fond of it. Being in 7th-8th form, I realized I liked it. I chose a chemical-biological profile to enter the university. So, I steadily went towards my dream to become a doctor.

Where have you been studying?

In Belarusian State Medical University. My major – surgery. Then I had a retraining as a sports doctor. That was an additional diploma to my diploma of a surgeon.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Helping others is crucial thing. Whether it’s a sportsman or just a person, he comes to you with his problem, with some pain. It’s always interesting to reach positive results. I’m happy when a patient leaves you being happy that his problem is solved. This always adds positive vibes. As for professional sports, I like the attention sportsmen pay to their bodies. The lads know themselves perfectly. We have to be on top, cutting edge. We must always know the latest methods, all up-to-date information to answer all questions that may be asked by professional sportsmen. Often, they are top-quality players who perform on the highest level, so I always enjoy communicating with them, especially when you know a bit more and can share your knowledge. And I’m thrilled when the guys say: “Yes, doctor, you’re great, I got it. Now I realize how it works”. You always face new challenges; you need to be an attentive and hard-working person. So, I enjoy working in a professional sports club, because everyone should be ready to solve any problem within a short period of time. In a civil hospital you can cure a patient for a month, two, three until he or she is fully fit… In professional sports the results are hot topic, so having solved a hard task quickly, you’re really happy. I remember all lads whom I’ve been curing throughout my career. Most of them are still active sportsmen.

Being a doctor in different kinds of sports is the same or there are some peculiarities?

They all are top professionals, however there are differences. Sports specifics deals with certain motoric mechanisms. And they are different in different kinds of sports, whether it’s basketball, football, ice hockey or handball. All these kinds have own peculiarities in insensitivity of muscle work, in playing surface, in active periods of work, in workloads. That’s why the injuries differ, however, sometimes there are always same ones. Having faced several kinds of sports, you possess more knowledge that may help you in curing specific injuries in various ways.

Usually public don’t draw much attention to sports doctors and their contribution to overall results. Doesn’t it distress you?

No, never. I’ve always realized the role of a sports doctor. All top coaches and management of clubs know how much time it takes. The quality of medical staff can be crucial in terms of both preparation and recovery after games. Much time and finances are spent for sake of its development all over the world. Wherever I’ve been, sports doctors keep developing.

Last week you found yourselves in the center of public attention. First, you’ve made the first aid to a supporter in Bobruisk. Were you glad to hear the applauds from the stands?

I haven’t heard them to be true, I was focused on the patient. A 20-25-year-old girl got an epileptic seizure and she fell down between the stands. We heard someone calling for a doctor, grabbed kits and ran. We did everything right, deblocked respiratory ways to let her breath. This is the main thing in such situations: to avoid suffocation. In the end she was fine, started answering my questions. I asked her to wink if she hears me, she did and I was sure she’s OK. By that time the ambulance arrived and we handed the patient to them. I wish her good health. To be honest, that was not my first such case. Once, being a basketball doctor, I rescued a man in the airport, there was even a newspaper article about it. There was an emergency situation, but this is my job. I’ll never refuse to help anyone. A doctor must be ready to help, this is the law of my profession.

Second, the interview of Aleksandr Odintsov, ex-doctor of FC BATE. He discussed the disagreements between the specialist and the coaching staff. Have you read the interview?

I have, but briefly. I’m not fond of conflicts between doctors and coaches. They must be as one team. A doctor must do his best to help any coach who manages his team. It’s not a good idea in terms of doctor’s reputation to take this out from family. I don’t know what conflict they had, but whatever it was, my position is to help any coach. If you don’t like this or that coach – tell this honestly and quit the club. That would be a better solution. In my opinion.

Haven’t you had misunderstandings with a head coach or a player?

A doctor must always take the sportsman’s side, he’s your patient. The clue task is not to make his injury worse. A professional coach would always listen to a doctor, respect his opinion. The coach may disagree, everyone has own view. Luckily, I’ve never had serious controversies. Little misunderstandings are easily solved by having a discussion and exchanging opinions. The head coach always bears responsibility for the final result, but everyone can express own thoughts.

Let’s imagine a situation: the coach tells that a footballer must play tomorrow after making painkilling injections, moreover, the player himself desires to help the team. But you, as a specialist, understand that this may have serious consequences. What would you do?

My decision is to explain what consequences can we face. If everyone is ready to take risks, let’s work. If the player, having learned the protentional consequences, changes his mind, he won’t play. A footballer is the master of own body, as any other sportsman. They get money for it, so they all have very professional attitude. My task in this situation – to help him play, to make all players within my club ready to perform. If there’s an injury, it must be properly cured, then the player will be 100%-ready. However, there are force-majeure situations, when it’s up to this given sportsman what to do.

Did it take much time for you to get blended into the new squad and new coaching staff?

As far as it concerns players, I knew many of them before: Aleksandr Noyok, Artem Bykov, Sergey Ignatovich, Mikhail Gordeychuk, Pavel Savitskiy. I’ve never come across Denis Laptev in previous teams, but we are neighbors. I was born in Mozyr, my parents live in house number 10, his parents – in house number 8. So, we are homies and we easily found common ground. Overall, the squad is very good, quality in professional and general terms. I enjoy working in the team. There were no problems, I started working and communicating from the off.
Speaking about my colleagues, they are high-level professionals, so I haven’t had problems with them also. I always love and appreciate those who professionally do their job. I’ll never have difficulties with those who comply with my requirements and want to develop. Just like it’s in the staff of Dynamo Brest. Speaking about coaches, my task is to help them using my knowledge. If I have some questions, I come to the head coach, we sit and discuss. I’m sure he doesn’t have secrets from me. The team is nice, we help one another, and this is just beautiful.

Do you communicate with some footballers more than just during games and trainings, or you prefer to keep professional distance?

There should be distance, but if a player wants to visit me and discuss this or that moment, I’ll never refuse. We chat, drink coffee. Anyone is welcome to come to me and solve problems we have.

Now there are several injured players in our team. Have you made some conclusions?

Of course, we keep analyzing the situations, try to change the training and injury-preventing approach. It’s always better to prevent injuries than to cure them. I’ve expressed my opinion, the head coach supported it, and we a bit rebuilt the process. Today these steps bring positive impact.  

There are injury-prone players who suffer from knocks more often, the others can play for years without an injury. Whats the reason?

There are two. First is genetic predisposition to injuries. Second – professionalism and injury prevention. The players of Dynamo Brest arrive to the base one or two hours before trainings, and everyone knows if he has even a tiny problem – he does a complex of exercises. On top, there are quality recovery, physical therapy, massages, work on certain groups of muscles before and after trainings. These are signs of professionalism and the way to stay in sports for a long time.

There’s an opinion that attacking players are more injury-prone. Is this true or it’s just a misconception because they are just more notable on the pitch?

I think it’s just because they are more notable in media, on the pitch. Forwards are always in the center of attention. However, many famous specialists say: “You need quality defenders to make your team play well”. So, everything is built from the basis. The better is defense, the better results you have. You’ll never lose if you make a clean sheet.

The quick progress of medical technologies is obvious for everyone. Do Belarusian clubs and Dynamo Brest keep up the trend?

Sky’s the limit. Medicine will always keep improving, especially sports one. Now the humanity reached genetic engineering, operations with cells. I think our top-5 teams of the Highest League are on an average European level in terms of equipment and medical supplies, as well as the staff’s abilities and knowledge.

When a footballer needs surgery, he choses a clinic in Italy or Germany, not in Belarus. Why?

This is just a prejudice. I’ve witnessed surgeries in Italy and Germany and also attended the recent Elis Bakaj’s surgery in Minsk. The technology is the same, they’re done in the same way both abroad and here. Today our RSPC of Traumatology and Orthopedics possesses all possibilities and equipment for such complicated procedures. There are also high-class specialists who make surgeries in Europe.
Such a prejudice against our surgeries is just a problem of our mentality. We have a proverb: “The grass is always greener on the other side”. But such an attitude is constantly changing. There are many famous sportsmen who chose to undergo surgery in Belarus and were happy with the treatment. They have recovered and keep performing on the highest level.

Another side is that a surgery is not everything. Then follows the most crucial moment of recovery. The injured area should be trained, sometimes through a sharp pain. You must strictly follow the program developed by a specialist. You have to cope with stress, this is a very energy- and knowledge-intensive process. We do utmost with all medical staff to help Elis get through this.

What should you never tell to an injured sportsman?

You should never lie to the injured. You must always tell only truth, no matter how bitter it is. A doctor must be a good psychologist, especially in sports. As I’ve said above, the high-level sportsmen are very sensitive towards their bodies, so they always need supportive words, courtesy. This is another area of sports medicine I’m fond of.

Do you have a hobby during spare time?

I read much medical literature, and one of the directions I pay attention to – manual therapy. This is an area of medicine that deals with musculoskeletal system and spinal cord. I’m learning the sphere and it takes much time. And surely, I have a family! My wife, two kids, a dog and even a rabbit – you have to find time for everyone. The kids miss daddy, because he’s always busy. That’s why I seek to give every free minute to my family.

Haven’t you thought about writing a book about your work as a sports doctor?

This year being at pre-season camp I got the thought. Maybe when I get older, I’ll write a book. There will be many funny stories from sportsmen’s lives and also serious observations and conclusions from my sports practice. But this won’t happen soon :)

Flash quiz

What’s your favorite app in the phone?

Navigator. Especially after moving to Brest.

Favorite dish

Potato pancakes with sour cream

Day-out in the wild or in a big city?

Definitely in the wild

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited?

Saint Petersburg

What’s your favorite place in Belarus?
My home

Vacations at sea or in the mountains?

Sea

Winter of summer?

Summer

Favorite movie?

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” with Til Schweiger

Favorite book?

“Dead souls” by Nikolay Gogol