London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time European boxing vice-champion Tervel Pulev was born on January 10, 1983 in Sofia. He has been in the sport since 1994, inspired by the example of his father Venko Pulev, who was the champion of Bulgaria in the middle of the 20th century in the super heavyweight category. His brother Kubrat Pulev is a European boxing champion and holder of three belts in the professional ring. In his career, Tervel has won gold medals at dozens of international tournaments, including two "Strandja" cups and 2nd place at the European Cup. For three years in a row, he was named Bulgaria's 1 boxer (from 2010 to 2012).
Tervel Pulev graduated from the National Sports Academy "Vasil Levski" with the speci alties of boxing coach and physical education teacher. In 2007, he enrolled in law at the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski". He is married to the national volleyball player Diana Nenova, with whom he has a son, Kaloyan. The boxer talks about what tests he went through and how he takes care of his he alth in an interview specially for "Doctor".
Tervel, what are your more serious boxing injuries that required surgery?
- Hands are often broken in boxing, and many microtraumas occur on the phalanges. The other weak point is the elbows. Personally, I had a problem with the nasal septum and breathing difficulties, but this is an individual case, not a common injury in boxers. Our two halves are not perfectly symmetrical, even if it is not visible to the naked eye. So my nasal septum was a little crooked. But due to injuries in boxing, the problem deepened and had to be corrected. I had two nose surgeries - one in Bulgaria and one in Germany, and then I had an additional correction in Germany.
The result of the operations is felt 3 to 6 months later. Because immediately after the operation, edema occurs and, in reality, then there is still difficulty in breathing. Only when the swelling goes down and everything subsides, you can feel whether there is a result or not. In my case, the result was not very big, but there was some improvement.
Did he get a nose job in Bulgaria first?
- Yes, in 2011 at ISUL, in the Second ENT Clinic. It was tragic. I am extremely dissatisfied. The recovery was very difficult. Maybe the doctors in Bulgaria are very good, but they don't have the opportunity to use high technologies. The second time I was operated on in a private clinic in Berlin. When I woke up after the operation in Germany, I didn't feel any pain. I had a huge appetite. But I was scared from the previous operation in Bulgaria, where I lost a lot of blood and needed to eat more. When I swallowed then, I felt incredible pain. Maybe it's from the tube they put down my throat during the surgery. And in the German hospital I didn't have such pain when eating. I came out of the anesthetic and it was as if nothing had been done to me except for the bandage on my nose.
Who referred you to the clinic in Berlin?
- I contacted a Bulgarian doctor who lives and works in this clinic in Berlin. He examined me and scheduled a date for surgery, in which Dr. Tetovsky assisted. The operation was performed by Prof. Berbom. Comparing them, there is nothing in common between the two operations. In Germany, I understood what modern medicine means. I experienced much less pain, recovered much faster, had a much greater effect. There is no basis for comparison between the two hospitals. In the Berlin clinic I was like in a spaceship. The operating room itself was located in a separate wing, which no one enters just like that. I'm talking about
another level of hygiene, discipline,
security measures. You can see from everywhere that the work is more professional. While in ISUL they take you from the hospital room, you go into the operating room alone, on your feet, lie down on the table and they anesthetize you.
How much did the surgery cost you in Berlin?
- It cost about 5,000 euros, with 4,000 euros being the surgery itself. In Bulgaria, the operation cost BGN 2,000. The German doctors told me that the first operation largely worsened the situation, because they have fewer options for manipulation on an already operated area.
Now how do you feel?
- I can't say I'm breathing perfectly, but I'm better.
Have you been in the hospital recently?
- At the end of last year I had to be operated on for appendicitis. The doctor of the national boxing team responded quickly and I am grateful to him. He took me to a private clinic. Everything went smoothly, according to plan and is well done. What the doctors told me to expect happened. I am satisfied. I had a fever for the first 1-2 days, but then it went down and I was fine. In 2007, I also had one operation - at the First City Hospital. I had to remove a fatty mass - a lipoma - from my shoulder. I still have a small ball on my right palm, under my wrist.
Does that stop you from boxing?
- It's not an obstacle. It's tiny. I don't notice it. But the one on the shoulder was prominent and began to grow. They examined me and told me that if they cut it out it would be fine. When they cut it out, this appeared below the wrist. It makes no sense to remove it, because it can appear somewhere else on the body. I don't want to operate on it also because it is not painless. When they cut out my fat tissue, I was under local anesthesia, I could hear what the surgeon was talking to me, I could see what was happening above in the lights of the operating room.
It was unpleasant, I could feel the blood flowing,
how the surgeon was pulling the muscle with some kind of instrument to completely clear the fatty mass. Despite the anesthesia it was painful.
I assume you were in more pain in the ring?
- In the ring you mobilize, you have the spirit and the will to compete, you are muddy and you are not worried about the blows. Because of the high adrenaline, when you get injured in the ring, you don't feel it. It's only when you get home, when you're cold, that you feel the pain.
How do you feel after a match, when even if you won, but you also took heavy hits?
- A lot depends on whether you won or lost. Boxing is quite a tough sport - not only from the blows, but also from the physical exertion itself. It is specific - it is neither a marathon nor a sprint, but something in between with a constant change in intensity, which is extremely tiring. Even if you don't get hit in the head, you're very exhausted after a game. And as for the blows, the Bulgarian boxing school is characterized by the fact that we play it to end not with a 100:99 victory, but with a 3:1 victory. The goal is to win the match with minimal damage. I hope this keeps me he althy.
Do you go for preventive examinations?
- Yes, I'm going. At the beginning of January, all our boxers undergo basic examinations, they take blood and urine for testing. They also perform functional tests on us - how the body reacts during exercise. This gives very important information to the entire team working with the national team. When there is something outside the he althy norms, they notice it and catch the problem at an earlier stage. Apart from that, I go to the doctor, to the dentist myself, even if I don't have any complaints. It is a matter of personal attitude to he alth. When I feel something, I immediately go for an examination. Still
doctors study for many years and know best
I trust them.
And when your son Kaloyan has a fever or a cough, do you try babi ilachi first, or do you immediately take him to the GP?
- When you take care of a child, you need to know basic things to be able to react to the situation. Over the years I have learned how to act. I have antipyretics at home. But I also put a wet cloth on his feet. I usually had to do it at night. I can feel him burning, I give him a spoonful of the syrup to bring down the high temperature and so on. Then my son calms down and falls asleep. I can't let the child suffer all night, burn. And in the morning I take him to the pediatrician and he already knows professionally what measures to take.
Do you use alternative treatment methods?
- I generally avoid taking medicine. When I get a headache, my wife Diana or friends advise me to take painkillers. But I do not want. I endure the pain and at some point it passes. In general, with mild colds and coughs, I try to go without medication. They are some kind of chemicals after all, and I also want my body to get used to fighting on its own. When he built his own protection against viruses, then I didn't get sick all winter.
What do you have coming up this year?
- I am currently at Belmeken training camp. Borislav Boyadzhiev prepares me. I have a few professional boxing matches coming up. They will start at the end of March. I have not been given an exact date. The year will not be easy. I begin hard undertakings.
Does this mean you are ending amateur boxing and following in the footsteps of your brother Kubrat Pulev?
- These are professional matches for AIBA - the Olympic boxing organization, and I don't know if I will have the right to compete in amateur boxing again. But that is not so important. The important thing is to develop.
What is going on with your studies at the Faculty of Law of SU "St. Kliment Ohridski"?
- Semesterly I graduated. Everything is going as planned. All I had to do was take the state exam. I hope, when I have time, to complete it and graduate. Then I become a lawyer.