Western Cape-based women’s soccer star, coach and community leader, Zimasa Khana, is well on the road to recovery and is hoping to be back on the football field later this year following a procedure to repair her injured knee.
The 29-year-old football star — who started playing soccer when she was just 11 years old and has spent many years as a youth coach facilitating women’s grassroots soccer — says that she is most grateful that she was able to have the keyhole procedure she so desperately needed to repair her knee at Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital in Cape Town on 18 December last year.
“I suffered the injury to my knee while going into a tackle in 2016 and thought that it would get better after some rest and treatment. It never did come right, however, and has seriously affected my playing and coaching activities ever since. It was a difficult time; I felt like I was losing myself,” says Zimasa, who most recently played for Khayelitsha-based team RV United and helped lead them to their first ever Coca-Cola Cup in 2015.
“I am happy that my knee has been getting steadily stronger since the operation, to the extent that I am no longer using crutches and am doing some cycling exercises with my physiotherapist. While my knee can still get a little sore when I exercise it, I am really pleased with my progress, and am hoping to get back onto the soccer field again in the near future,” relates Zimasa who hopes to be playing in the first South African Women's Professional Soccer League, which kicks off this year.
“I am so thankful to have had the benefit of this procedure and grateful to all who made it possible including the hospital, the Netcare Foundation, the entire medical and surgical team under orthopaedic surgeon Dr Richard von Bormann, who agreed to treat me free of charge, as well as to as my physiotherapist, Mark Seuring, who encouraged and assisted me to find the necessary help. They have all been absolute angels, and I am forever in their debt.”
Dr Von Bormann, who is a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon specialising in knee surgery as well as a founding member of the Cape Town Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, reports that the procedure to repair Zimasa’s damaged knee went very well, and said he was most pleased with Zimasa’s progress when she came for a follow-up appointment recently.
“Ms Khana’s knee will take some time to heal and repair properly, and she will need to work hard on strengthening it with the assistance of her physiotherapist over the coming months, but I do expect her to be fit and get back to the football field within the next six months or so,” he adds.
Last year, Zimasa’s physiotherapist, Mark Seuring of SPARC Physio in Green point, had become increasingly concerned that her knee was not getting better and that she could not afford to have her injury properly investigated and treated. He therefore approached Dr Von Bormann to see if he could find a way to help get Zimasa’s promising career back on track.
Concerned about Zimasa’s plight, Dr Von Bormann brought her situation to the attention of Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital general manager, Dirk Truter. Zimasa was also encouraged to approach the Netcare Foundation to cover the costs of her in-hospital care. She was overjoyed when they responded positively to her application and agreed to cover all of the theatre and other costs related to her care in the hospital.
Dr Von Bormann then approached Morton & Partners Radiology, who agreed to undertake an investigatory MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan free of charge. This revealed that Zimasa’s knee would require surgical intervention to repair.
Dr Von Bormann put together the team to undertake the intricate minimally invasive knee procedure, including his wife, anaesthetist Dr Ania von Bormann, and general practitioner, Dr Mike Smit, to assist him with the procedure, which they kindly agreed to do. Medical equipment manufacturing company, Smith & Nephew, meanwhile agreed to provide some of the items he required to complete the keyhole procedure.
The result, Dr Von Bormann says, was “a wonderful team effort to assist a talented young woman who has been an inspirational community leader”.
In addition to playing and coaching soccer, Zimasa is passionate about teaching and has successfully applied to a university to train to become an educator. Having already completed her South African Football Association D and C coaching licences, she hopes that she can make a positive difference to the lives of young people in her community through both her teaching and soccer coaching.
Born and raised in De Aar, Northern Cape, which had no soccer teams for girls at the time, Zimasa went in search of a team that she could join. She subsequently played for leading women’s football teams around the country including in Beaufort West, Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, before finally joining RV United in 2013.
“It is clear that Ms Khana has been a tower of strength within the community and an inspiration to her peers over the years. The Netcare Foundation was deeply touched by her situation, and we are delighted to have been able to assist her to obtain the treatment she needed,” says Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI.
“We hope that Ms Khana is able to get back to her beloved football and coaching activities soon, and wish her all the best with her future career,” she concludes.
To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please contact Netcare’s customer service centre either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:30.
For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Netcare Foundation and Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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