Teen rebounds from near death to win Abacus competitions

The brain was carefully preserved during the surgery.” – Dr Ajay Netalkar “Riya could survive primarily because of Dr Netalkar and staff of Manipal.” – Prachi Rane “Riya’s treatment continued at Manipal Hospital uninterrupted.” – Pramod Rane “My parents, elder sister Shravani and Dr Netalkar gave me mental support.” – Riya Rane “I spent hours with Riya to help her prepare for Abacus competitions.” – Shravani Rane
Teen rebounds from near death to win Abacus competitions
Surviving life threatening accident


Panaji: From near death and losing younger brother in road accident in November last year to winning three Abacus (mental maths) competitions within a year, this is the story of 13-year-old Riya Rane’s perseverance and self redemption.

In a major road accident, Riya suffered severe head injuries when her father lost control over the car in neighbouring Sindhudurg district. She lost her younger brother in the mishap. But her determination ensured she was up on her feet in two months and bagged the first prize at Abacus Regional Competition held in Kolhapur in January 2019, just two months after the big accident.

Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Dr Ajay Netalkar, who operated upon Riya said, “She was brought here with exposed left skull. Scans showed there was blood clot, there were cracks in the skull at three to four places, with pieces of bones lodged inside the brain.”

The outer part of the forehead skin had peeled off due to friction injury. She had to be operated for three hours.

“Her blood pressure had fallen, there lot of blood loss. I couldn’t wait long for blood to arrive as we would have lost her. The surgery was very complicated. During surgery, I ensured Riya didn’t have further blood loss. The injury was very near to the main vein that connects all the veins of the brain from both sides. It was carefully preserved during the surgery,” Dr Netalkar said.

After the complex surgery she not only survived but excelled in her life.

“I feel proud of the way she rebounded in life,” he said, crediting her resilience and parental support

Riya’s mother Prachi Pramod Rane, a staff nurse in Civil Hospital Sindhudurg, credited Dr Netalkar and Manipal Hospitals rehabilitation team for her speedy recovery.

“There were no doctors in the local hospital. My son had died in the mishap on the spot. My younger daughter Riya was bleeding profusely. She was unconscious. We were shifted to Manipal Hospital by our hospital staff. She could survive primarily because of Dr Netalkar and staff of Manipal who took her special care,” she said.

Riya’s father Pramod Vasant Rane said the treatment continued at Manipal Hospital uninterrupted. “Money was never a problem. Dr Netalkar ensured that treatment continued unhindered. It is due to his and Manipal team’s efforts that my daughter not only recovered, she went on to win Abacus State championship within two months of her accident,” Rane said.

Narrating her personal account, Riya said she used to suffer from physical and mental trauma initially as the injury and death of brother had taken a huge toll on her.

“I used to have intermittent headache, nightmares. But my parents, elder sister Shravani and Dr Netalkar gave me their complete support. Whenever I felt low my sister motivated me. This helped me in excelling at the Abacus competitions. I consider Dr Netalkar as my idol,” she said.

Her elder sister Shravani said, “When she survived the tragedy, I considered it as a god’s gift for me. She was my only living sibling. I gave her all the emotional support. I sat with her for hours to help her prepare for the Abacus competitions.”

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