12-year-old Assam archer struck by arrow, shifted to ICU

Shivangini Gohain, the 12-year-old Assam archer who was injured when an arrow shot accidentally during a training session pierced her neck and upper body, underwent a surgery on Friday and a 15-cm part of the metal rod removed from her body. A senior doctor at the AIIMS trauma centre said Gohain, who had been brought here from Dibrugarh in Assam on Thursday night, was stable after the 'very complex surgery'.

The arrow, he added, had gone through her shoulder bone and damaged part of the neck, vertebra and the left lung. Gohain has now been shifted to the ICU for observation. The arrow, he explained, was touching the vertebral artery which supplies blood to the brain stem.

About 15 cm of the arrow was removed from her upper body. 'Around 0.5 cm of the arrow was in front of the spinal cord. It was a very complex surgery,' he said. The operation, which lasted three-and-half hours, was performed by a team led by Dr Deepak Gupta, professor of neurosurgery at AIIMS.

Gohain, who was airlifted from Assam and brought to the AIIMS Trauma Centre around 8 pm, was training at the Dakha Devi Rasiwasia College at Chabua on Wednesday when the incident took place.

Dakha Devi Rasiwasia College serves as an extension centre under the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Regional Centre in Guwahati.

According to the state's archery association, she was training unsupervised and the mishap was a result of negligence by the local coach and officials.

Pulin Das, a joint secretary of Assam Archery Association and executive member of the state Olympic association, said the school girl from the Deodhai village, about three kilometres from Chabua, was injured as the trainees were practising without any coach and other officials.

'There is a SAI contractual coach, Marcy, and he has left for the Khelo India Games in Guwahati. He didn't instruct the trainees to stop the camp for some time nor did the college principal, who acted as administrator of the extension centre, looked after the practice,' Das told .

The extension centre has 11 trainees, six boys and five girls, and they were training under SAI contractual coach A C Marcy from Nagaland, who is in Guwahati for the Khelo India Youth Games.

Das said Gohain was struck by an arrow shot by boys doing practice. The arrow remained stuck for more more than a day before she was airlifted to New Delhi on Thursday night.

Gohain's father Brinchi Gohain was outside the practice area. With no official of the college and SAI coming for help, she was taken to Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh, 33 km from Chabua.

'I was told that she had a very tough time as the arrow remained stuck for more than a day. She is a strong-willed girl and she fought. Her father must be a daily wage labourer and he was distraught also,' Das said.

The SAI said that it will bear all the expenses of her treatment.

The Assam Archery Association has contributed Rs 20,000 towards her treatment.