Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
An inspirational return to
action for paddling star Nkhoesa
Durban – Emerging Shongweni based paddling star Banetse Nkhoesa
is on track to completing a near miraculous recovery from a
serious shoulder and lung injury from a December stabbing
incident and has the KwaZulu-Natal’s Elite Athlete Development
Programme to thank for being able to take his place on the FNB
Dusi start line on Thursday 18 February.
The 22 year old Team Euro Steel star has been working closely
with Dr Kevin Subban at the Prime Human Performance Institute
over the past two months to try and get him to a level where he
can be fit to compete at, arguably, the toughest canoe marathon
in South Africa.
“I was contacted while I was overseas and was told that Banetse
had been stabbed,” Dr Kevin Subban, the doctor for the South
African Olympic team, said. “I didn’t know the extent of the
injury until I got back to South Africa where I discovered that
he had actually punctured his left lung.
“You never know if the lung is punctured until you take x-rays
but the intensity of pain and the difficulty in breathing
The incident happened whilst Nkhoesa and his partner, 2014 FNB
Dusi Canoe Marathon winner, Sbonelo Khwela were well into their
preparations for the 2016 event and Dr Subban was happy with how
they were coming along until that fateful day.
“The two of them had been going really well before Banetse was
stabbed and they were training hard at Prime and we were helping
them with some small niggles that they had but this came as a
serious shock to both of them,” Dr Subban added.
Lung functionality is critical in endurance sports and with the
Dusi being such a physically demanding event having maximum lung
functionality is an important part of being competitive over the
three days of the race.
“We did a lung function test on him recently which measured
according to height, weight, age etc. and you have a standard
norm which for a person his age should be around 4.5 litres.
“He only came in at about four litres so we think that this lack
of functionality is due to the puncture in his left lung.
“They say that one should start feeling better after around six
weeks. You will still feel pain but the lung capacity improves
but it could be a few months until he has the same functionality
as he had before the accident,” explained Dr Subban.
Injuries are a big part of professional sport and the road to
recovery serves up a number of different scenarios as well as the
potential for self-doubt however Nkhoesa has taken it all in his
stride and continues to impress in his recovery.
“Once an athlete gets injured the common reaction is that all is
lost but with no guarantee with regards to the lung recovery he
said he was going to give it 110 percent so I think the strength
of his mental state has helped him to recovery so well,” he said.
With a six to eight week period within which a punctured lung
should repair that was the distance from when the incident
happened to the start of the 2016 FNB Dusi which has meant that
Nkhoesa’s recovery has been exceptional.
“The start of the Dusi will be around the same time where you
would start your rehabilitation but the one advantage that both
Sbonelo and Banetse have is that they have put in the hard yards
“Their fitness levels were high which, to Banetse’s advantage,
has helped him recover faster.
“We have been pushing him (Nkhoesa) for the last week and he has
been coming through,” a happy Dr Subban stated.
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unfortunate knife attack in December the Elite Athlete
Development Programme team of (from left): Nande Mjajubana (Physio),
Sbonelo Khwela (paddling partner), Banetse Nkhoesa, Mondli Linda
(Bio), Dr Kevin Subban have been working with Nkhoesa to get him
fit for the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon starting on 18 February.
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