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Meet Kish Kishto: A Beach Soccer Referee & Cardiac Physiologist.

Meet Kish, an amazing individual who seamlessly navigates the dynamic worlds of beach soccer and cardiac physiology.

Kish is a Beach Soccer Referee and a Director/Head of Referees at the England Beach Soccer. He is also a dedicated professional in the field of cardiac physiology, wearing many caps such as Chief Cardiac Physiologist, Trainee Sports Cardiac Scientist, and Education Lead Physiologist. In this conversation, we delve into Kish’s remarkable journey, exploring how he balances his dual careers, the challenges, and the parallels he’s drawn between sports performance and heart health. Join us as we uncover the inspiring story of true passion and profession.

 “A single day of exercise may protect the heart against ischemia and reperfusion damage, and this exercise preconditioning is further sustained with regular exercise.

– Kish

Beach Soccer Journey:
You’ve been deeply involved in beach soccer for over a decade, officiating games. What initially drew you to this sport, and how has your journey evolved over these years?

Kish:  I grew up in Mauritius playing street football. I have found small-sided games much more interesting than traditional 11-a-side. I moved to the Isle of Wight in 2010 and met Luke Kerr via the Just Play program run by the FA getting people to play football in the community. I was invited by Luke Kerr to come and watch the Beach Soccer Sunday League being played on the Appley Beach in Ryde. Then I used to play as a goalkeeper predominantly Futsal and 5-aside. I played for Sandown Sociedad for a couple of years. But due to some injuries, I couldn’t play any longer, but I fell in love with the beautiful game on the sand and wanted to keep getting involved, so I moved toward coaching and refereeing.

As a FA Futsal Referee, it was a bit easier to transfer the skills on the sand. During that process, I completed my FA Coaching Badges Levels 1 and 2 sponsored by Elite Soccer UK. In 2014, I had the opportunity to officiate alongside some FIFA Beach Soccer referees at the ITV Fever Pitch in Manchester and a few of the FA Futsal Referees supported by Sean Dipple and David Jones. Over the years, I officiated in all the national beach soccer leagues and tournaments across England. In 2018, I did the FIFA MA Beach Soccer Referee course in Mauritius supported by the Mauritius Football Association. My international adventure started in 2022 when I officiated in the NASSC in Virginia USA and Madjer Cup in Portugal, and it was followed up in 2023, and now the NASSC 2024 edition.

Refereeing Expertise:
As Head of Referees for the England Beach Soccer Association, what challenges and rewards come with overseeing referees in a dynamic sport like beach soccer?

Kish: Being an official is mentally and physically challenging. As an independent organisation, I had the support initially from Sean Dipple at The FA. He guided me and put me in the right direction. It is very hard to get Beach Soccer referees as we don’t have the weather for it all year around. I have a few bunches who has committed themselves to the sports. In the regional events, I get to oversee some young adults who showed interest in officiating in the youth tournament, a perfect platform to gain confidence and experience. Physically it demanding to run on the sand and temperature adaptation.

Global Experience:
Having officiated in various countries, are there any standout moments or matches that particularly left an impression on you? Any unique experiences that shaped your perspective as a referee?

Kish: I have been quite lucky and grateful to get the opportunities. I have officiated in England, Mauritius, USA, and Portugal in their major tournaments. All the events have been a great experience, and mainly meeting many people and making new friends. I think officiating the Women’s finals in the NASSC in 2022 and the Men’s and Women’s finals in 2023, in addition to the friendly internationals between England and Germany and the women between England and Czech Republic, which was a first in the UK, have been the main highlights for me. I’ve had great road trips with my friends, Gunter Torsten former FIFA Beach Soccer Referee and Philipp Kittel, driving from New York to Virginia, and with Luke Kerr around England. All are great memories thanks to Beach Soccer.

Balancing Professions:
Transitioning from beach soccer referee to a cardiac physiologist often requires a unique balance. How do you manage these two vastly different and demanding roles?

Kish: To be honest, I just do it. One thing I have learnt is that no one will do it for me so just believing in myself and get out there. I studied at University of Southampton trained as a Cardiac Physiologist, Scientist Practitioner as mature student in 2011 to 2015. It’s indeed a challenge juggling life between family, hobbies and studying. Both roles need focus and determination, I can say that it has not been easy. In beach soccer I always have the challenge of making that quick efficient decision and similarly there is no room for mistake in the cardiology world when dealing with life and death. I can relieve my stress when on the sand away from having the responsibility of someone else life and enjoy my freedom.

“Cardiac screening is vital for all athletes whether it is at the elite or grassroots level to help identify those at risk of sudden cardiac death.

– Kish

Career Highlights:
Among your numerous officiating experiences, is there one achievement or recognition that holds a special place in your heart?

Kish: It was an honour to be awarded and recognised in Beach Soccer for the last decade for my continuous support of the sport in England. I would say representing England Beach Soccer and England at the international level is a great honour.

Influence and Mentorship:
Any individual or mentors that have significantly influenced your career, either in beach soccer or the medical field?

Kish: I have been lucky to get the support from several people on the sand, Luke Kerr has always been there, and it is all down to him where I got today, and I have had the support from David Jones, Terry Bowes, and Sean Dipple. They all have always believed in me, and I am incredibly grateful for their support. In the medical field, the late Professor Baligadoo Cardiologist in Mauritius, and my good friend Balmick Jeetun, whom I look up to as an excellent physiologist. I remember while being a trainee and I said I wanted to be like him one day.

Family Support:
How does your family play a role in supporting your dual careers?

Kish: My family is my daughter and friends in the UK. I do my best to be the best father and be there for her every weekend. I know in the past when she was younger, I used to take her with me to games. She used to enjoy it and could have been a decent player too. My friends in the beach soccer have been the biggest influence and support on my journey so far. I have been lucky enough that I used my holidays merged with the weekend to accommodate games and tournaments.

Sports and Health:
Given your expertise in both beach soccer and cardiac physiology, do you see any parallels between sports performance and heart health that you apply in your professional and sporting life?

Kish: It is well established that moderate regular exercise is good for the heart, and it reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events and can increase life expectancy by up to 7 years. We have seen over the years now occasionally a healthy athlete may succumb to cardiac arrest due to previously unsuspected cardiac abnormality. A single day of exercise may protect the heart against ischemia/reperfusion damage, and this exercise preconditioning is further sustained with regular exercise.
Clinical research has shed light on aerobic exercise increasing nitric oxide bioavailability and improving endothelial function as well as having an anti-inflammatory marker effect. It may decrease blood pressure by 3-7mmHg, which would translate to a reduction of cardiovascular disease by 20-30%. Endurance exercise is associated with a greater risk of atrial fibrillation in middle-aged athletes and possible myocardial scar and coronary artery calcification. It is recommended that moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week. Cardiac screening is vital for all athletes whether it is at the elite or grassroots level to help identify those at risk of sudden cardiac death.

Interesting, lets delve deeper, do you find any crossroads where your knowledge from the medical field influences your approach to refereeing, or vice versa?

Kish: Firstly, I would say communication. The level of concentration as there is no room for error in the cardiology world and I do my best to have the same approach when officiating. Secondly, I use a checklist in the medical field and same apply when I officiate. And lastly, focus and Decision Making are the key aspect of a good flow to the game likewise in complex cases and emergencies, those qualities are very much needed and to be at the top of the game is vital. But overall, a healthy mindset will have a good impact on the cardiovascular function.

Work-Life Balance:
With such demanding roles, how do you juggle leisure and work commitments, and still manage to pick up awards, such as your recent Rising Star Award from the Society of Cardiological Science & Technology?

Kish: I get asked this question a lot by family and friends. My life is quite chaotic. If I am not on a train, then I am on a taxi or ferry, and sometimes on a plane more recently. Well, I make it happen. It is simple; I live my life in the moment. If I can make a difference in one person’s life, then I am very happy. The beautiful game, in general, has been a massive success in my journey so far. When I was going through some challenging times in the past, then Beach Soccer and Futsal gave me some purpose, and that helped me focus on my cardiology career. Sports and Cardiology have been a great combination, and I use both platforms to improve my own mental health and well-being. Receiving the Rising Star Award was a humbling experience, and I am grateful for the recognition. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my cardiology career, and I’m proud to be making a difference in the field.

Finally, what footprints would you like to leave on the sands of time? It’s a question that allows you to share your hopes, future aspirations or ambitions.

Kish: I have achieved a lot in the Beach Soccer world by representing England at the international level and well-established nationally. My only regret is I wish I had gotten involved in Beach Soccer when I was younger. I would love to see the English FA supporting the Beach Soccer in the UK. In regards to Cardiac Physiology, there is so much to achieve, although I am in a very privileged position to be able to specialise in several disciplines like Echocardiography, Cardiac Rhythm Management, Cardiac Cath Lab, including for emergency Heart Attack and devices implantation, Sports Cardiology, and Education. I would love to be able to provide free screening for young people to help identify those at risk of sudden cardiac death in the future.

Thank you Kish for sharing your incredible story and insights with us. Your dedication to both beach soccer and cardiac physiology is truly inspiring, and we wish you continued success.

Follow BSmag and @kishkishto for more insights on beach soccer lifestyle, health and well-being.


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