Heptathlete Swapna Barman may need a back surgery, her long-time coach Subhas Sarkar said on Friday.
"A surgery cannot be ruled out. She won't compete in any major events in 2019. She has to fully recover first," Sarkar said on the sidelines of Sports Authority of India (SAI) felicitation here.
Swapna braved a tooth and gum infection and back injury to win India's first-ever heptathlon gold medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia recently.
The 21-year old returned to the city amidst fanfare on Friday but was down with fever and nausea.
Swapna has been struggling with her back injury since 2014 after she took part in the Incheon Asian Games as a teenager.
The Jalpaiguri girl almost had to pull out of the World Championships last year due to the injury.
Besides injuries, Swapna had to face financial hurdles.
One of the four children of her parents, her life is a story of survival. Her father Panchanan Barman pulled rickshaw till a stroke forced him to stay at home, while mother Basana Devi worked as a maid and plucked leaves in the tea garden.
"It will be quite an emotional thing as I will meet my family after more than a year (last time she went home after winning gold at the Asian Athletics in Bhubaneswar in July last year). My mother always asks 'Tui bhalo achis to' (hope you are doing well). I am missing them a lot," Swapna said.
Swapna and her coach will now go to Mumbai to meet Dr Anant Joshi and other doctors to determine the exact nature of her injuries.
Swapna achieved her personal best score of 6026 points in the seven-event competition to earn India a first heptathlon gold in Asian Games.