Preethi Srinivasan, the former captain of the under-19 Tamil Nadu women’s cricket team, held the record of being the youngest to have played for a junior state team. She was a national level swimmer as well.
Preethi had everything going for her but things took an unfortunate turn when she met with an accident at the age of 18. The mishap left her quadriplegic but she did not let this pull her spirit down. Instead, she decided to embrace it and help out others with a similar or worse plight.
Preethi, born September 5, 1979, developed fascination for cricket when she was just four. It was India's victory in the 1983 World Cup in England and Wales that inspired her--underdog India beat the mighty West Indies by 43 runs in the final.
She enrolled for a cricket camp at the age seven. Playing alongside nearly 300 boys, her hard-hitting batting style made them apprehensive of bowling to her.
Her abundant talent made everyone believe that Preethi would soon an integral member of the Indian women's cricket team.
However, on July 11, 1988, while returning to Chennai from her college trip to Pondicherry, she met with an unfortunate accident. They had stopped at a private beach on the way where she decided to play in the sea. Despite being a swimming champ, she tripped in the water because of the receding waves. The sand beneath her churned due to the wave leading her to stumble a little and dive face-forward into the water.
Narrating the incident on the Telugu discussion board, Andhra Friends, she said,
My legs became numb all of a sudden. When I tried to move, I fell face down in the water. I felt a shock pass through me and my friends had to carry me out.
Initially, she thought she had been bitten by something in the water and would recover gradually. However, she was told by the doctors soon that she was suffering from a spinal cord injury. She was a sportsperson once and now, she could not move at all.
Though she was restricted to a wheel chair, her sportsmanship spirit and families' unwavering support, motivated her to become the voice of other spinal cord injury survivors.
Preethi runs a charitable trust in Tamil Nadu called Soulfree which helps out people suffering from severe disabilities. Through this NGO, she wants to uplift the disabled sections of the society by creating awareness about these injuries and potential employment opportunities. The NGO also provides training for various professions such as radio jockey, audio books’ recording artists and so on.