Gautam is breaking down barriers and making her mark in the sports world with her outstanding talent and work ethic.
Navnita (Nav) Gautam is a licensed Certified Athletic Therapist. Currently, she is a Sports Massage Therapist for Royal Challengers Bangalore, India, for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. One of her major goals was to become the first female support staff member in the IPL. And on October 17, that dream became a reality as she was hired by the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team. This is an incredible accomplishment and a dream come true for Gautam as she keeps breaking down barriers and making her mark in the sports world with her outstanding talent and work ethic.
After Gautam finished high school, she decided to plan for a career in sports medicine. She got into Simon Fraser University (SFU) and focused on athletic therapy as she wanted to help athletes on and off the field; she completed her Bachelor’s of Kinesiology at SFU. The travel involved was another appealing factor. She went on to graduate from the Athletic and Exercise Therapy Program at Camosun College (while also serving as an assistant basketball coach for the school). The next step of her education started this year as she was admitted to the Masters of Sports Rehabilitation program at the University of British Columbia.
Gautam has had extensive work experience in several sports. Locally, she has worked as an athletic therapist candidate at Douglas College, Camosun College and the University of Victoria for their women’s basketball teams. She has also worked for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC2 team in the same athletic therapist capacity. Her breakthrough role came in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup which was held in Vancouver. She was privileged to “learn a great deal from physiotherapists and athletic therapists from around the world.” She also took an opportunity to work as an athletic therapist for India’s Women’s Basketball Team in the FIBA Asia Cup in 2017.
The dedicated therapist has been honoured as a runner-up in the Bobbie Steen Legacy Award from the Canadian Association of Women in Sport and Physical Activity. She also won an Excellence in Clinical Award from the Canadian Athletic Therapist Association and Athletic Therapy BC. Her pinnacle event came recently in the 2019 Global T20 Canada tournament for cricket as she worked with the Toronto Nationals. Her experience there was one she would never forget. Gautam was privileged to do her work with the team, partake in team activities, watch the games and absorb the love and energy from the fans. She made sure to point out how she appreciates Toronto Nationals owners Amit and Kowal Agarwal for bringing her on with the team and to star player Yuvraj Singh for “trusting my work and making this experience memorable for me. The entire tournament was amazing, I am very grateful!”
In 2012, Gautam started a charity called “Hoops for India” which gives under-privileged kids a chance to play basketball. It started out in local villages in Punjab with two locations in Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur. After visiting India several times in her youth, Gautam saw how the physical education programs in India weren’t good enough. She hoped to make some change and encourage fitness programs through the week. Another goal was to promote sports for girls as well as boys and encourage the sporting lifestyle for all genders. The young founder shares that her dream for the program is “to build a sports school that involves all sports for under-privileged children and develop a Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD) model for young kids.”
It hasn’t been easy for Gautam at all during her journey. When she first went to India she explained how “it was challenging for me to sell myself for what I do as an athletic therapist. But through patience and persistence, I was able to make it through.” She was a guest speaker at the 2019 Indian Association of Sports Medicine Conference where she presented the topic of athletic therapists and what they do.
All this could not have happened without the love and support of Gautam’s family, friends and teachers. She has many to thank for her move to Bangalore, India, and many who have helped her adjust in her first year overseas. Gautam is playing a prominent role in sports medicine and her work will speak for itself as she progresses in her field.