Tomas was out for six weeks.
EuroBasket was saved by a doctorate shaman.

October 31, 2022

I don’t think it’s too late to write a few lines about the recent EuroBasket, which was hosted by Czechia for the first time in 41 years. Our nation has never seen such a large number of spectators! Over 15,000 people came to the game against Serbia – it was beautiful. My wish came true, everyone cheered like their lives depended on it. And in the end, it was all worth it albeit with a bit of a dramatic ending. The Czechs advanced to the round of 16 in Berlin and unfortunately lost to Greece. But they put up a good fight and definitely left with their heads held high.

The whole thing was very emotional for me because my husband Tomáš got injured at the preparatory tournament less than 14 days before the start of the EuroBasket. After undergoing numerous examinations, it was discovered that he had a severe strain in his ankle tendons and one of the tendons was torn. Several doctors agreed the best way forward was complete rest for four to six weeks. That was a shock.

But Tomáš is the greatest fighter I know. He decided to do everything possible and impossible to shorten the recovery time. One of the first people he contacted was Navin Hettiarachchi. A native of Sri Lanka, Navin was working as Chief Physical Therapist for the Washington Wizards when he met Tomáš during Tomáš’s first year in the NBA. But Navin is much more than that, and the label “shaman”, which appeared several times in the media, is not very accurate either.

Yes, he is someone who prefers natural methods and the inherent healing capabilities of the human body over chemical and invasive procedures. At the same time, he has two doctorate degrees, and I have personally seen several cases where NBA players flew him to the other side of the United States for a couple of days and paid him huge amounts of money because they believed that he was the only one who could help them. And he did it.

It was a strange coincidence, because a few days before the fateful injury, I was texting Navin’s partner for the first time in more than a year. She sent me greetings from Lithuania, even though I knew they both lived in America. We joked it was not that far and that we could see each other for a few days. And then it happened.

Tomáš contacted Navin the morning he got injured but Navin already had a flight booked back to the USA scheduled for the next day. It was very complicated, but not impossible. Nothing is impossible with Navin and I felt in my gut that it was extremely important that Navin comes to see Tomas. Not only as someone who will be able to help him physically but above all as a friend, someone whom Tomas completely trusts and who spreads positive energy and calmness. Because in such situations, mental preparation makes more than 50 percent of success. So I told Tomáš to call Navin again, and if it was even remotely possible ask him to come and we will take care of the flights, accommodation, finances, and whatever else needed. I didn’t hesitate for a second.

Navin sorted everything out within an hour and was at our house the next day working with Tomáš. Navin had ten days to put Tomas back together. Navin didn’t say that he would try, he said that in ten days Tomas would play in the first match of the European championship.

Navin left no room for doubts. He came to us twice a day for three or four hours and devoted himself to the task at hand. Navin moved the ankle with his bare hands and sometimes he asked for some strange object, like a mirror, or something round and metal that could be used for massage. My father finally found a fork with a round handle that worked perfectly.

Navin also made a horseshoe shape out of a children’s foam pad that Tomás wears in his sock to this day. During the breaks, Navin played with our children and the dog who wouldn’t leave his side. I had Navin try my favorite superweed, “lichofe Hänica” from my parent’s garden, and also Vincentka, with which he immediately fell in love, just like I did years ago.

One day Navin stayed with us for dinner, dad made vegetable minestrone, which the whole family, including the children, adores. And then we talked until midnight about his daily meditation, the planet, the bizarre pharmaceutical industry, and why he decided to retire from the NBA and now travels the world spontaneously healing people of all professions, ages, and ailments. Navin spreads a good mood and hope around him. And in ten days, Tomáš threw away his crutches and suited up for the first match.

I’ll be honest, the match against Poland hurt a lot. Even now, after more than the originally estimated six weeks when Tomáš is already fully training with Barcelona, his ankle isn’t completely fine. Because of the physical load, the recovery took longer time and it will take more time to get back to normal. But Tomas is a hero to me. If someone is a shaman, then he himself is in his own body. For his teammates from the national team and for basketball as such, he would do anything in the world. Anything is possible if you want in bad enough and believe.

Former basketball player/expert in catering at MauMau company/graduate of VS in Seville/wife of Tomas Satoranský