Dr Mahomed Shorty Moolla pictured with his wife, Zarina Moolla.
Dr Mahomed Shorty Moolla pictured with his wife, Zarina Moolla.

Pioneering sports physician Mahomed Shorty Moolla dies

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Jul 15, 2020

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Durban - Sports physician Dr Mahomed Shorty Moolla died from a heart attack at his Reservoir Hills home on Monday morning.

Moolla, 71, died in his sleep and was later buried at Browns Avenue Cemetery.

Yusuf Moolla said his father had enjoyed a stellar career in the international and local medical fraternities.

Moolla had worked as a general practitioner for 16 years before delving into a relatively unknown field at the time, sports medicine.

In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, he said his love of sport motivated him to study for a Master’s degree in the subject, a decision he had said “changed my life forever”.

Moolla graduated as a medical doctor from the National University of Ireland. His involvement in the South African sporting fraternity began in 1994. He was appointed as the team doctor for Team SA at the Commonwealth Games in Canada. 

He opened a private sports physician’s practice at St Augustine’s Hospital in 1997.

Dr Mohammed Thandar, whose practice was next door to Moolla’s at St Augustine’s Hospital, said Moolla’s death was a huge loss to the community at large. “I met him daily. Despite his age, he strolled into the office with a smile. He was a pioneer in the sports medicine field,” said Thandar,

“He was welcoming, friendly and generous with his time. He took care of many doctors from a sporting point of view. He was very knowledgeable.

“He always researched and read the latest articles. He wanted the best for his patients. You could turn to him for advice.”

Moolla served as the chief medical doctor at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) for all games based in Durban in 1996. Yusuf Moolla said during this time his father met Nelson Mandela.

Moolla’s work at the Afcon in 1996 did not go unnoticed by the continent’s football governing body, and a year later he was appointed as a sports medicine instructor for the Confederation of African Football.

Moolla had told the Sunday Tribune: “I am proud to say that I have worked with some of the world’s top elite athletes, like Penny Heyns, Samuel Eto’o and Michael Essien.

“My father played football at high university levels in Dublin. He completed 11 Comrades marathons. He treated and prepared countless runners up until his passing,” Yusuf recalled.

Moolla leaves his wife, Zarina, daughter Fatima, sons Yusuf, Riaz and Aadil, and six grandsons between the ages of 3 and 10. 

“He loved these boys dearly, spent time with them, spoilt them. As a doctor he knew all too well the dangers of Covid-19. He made sure the family took all the precautions as necessary, from social distancing to taking the right vitamins.

“What was great for the family during lockdown was that we spent a lot of time together. Time we wouldn’t have had, and it really was precious to us,” Yusuf said.

“Just the tributes alone that have come through show that he left a mark on many people. They regarded him as a humble, professional and caring person. He travelled extensively during his career and made friends along the way. We received condolences from Reunion, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

“His love for sports and his profession is what stood out. But most importantly, his love for his family; he lived for all of us and was very proud of his family.”

Daily News

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