Wales centre and qualified doctor Jamie Roberts has started working for the National Health Service to help the fight against coronavirus.
With sport cancelled indefinitely, the 94-cap international has stepped in as a clinical innovation fellow – a role which will see him working in Cardiff in a motivational and communications capacity.
Roberts is currently contracted to South African side Stormers, but is now back in Wales where he graduated as a doctor. He wants to help the Cardiff and Vale Health board in a time of crisis.
“I have spent the last three months living in Cape Town, but obviously rugby out there was postponed indefinitely so I came back to the UK,” Roberts told the Welsh Rugby Union’s website.
“I just thought how can I play my part in this challenge we are all facing? I thought I would love to help the cause here in Cardiff with the health board that helped me train as a doctor.
“Although I have never worked clinically, I just thought I could lend an extra pair of hands and an extra brain into helping solve the challenge.
“My first few days here have been inspiring – to see how hard people are working and everyone playing their part. I won’t be doing any skilled clinical work. I may be on the wards doing some basic work.
“My role here is to help motivate staff, help the communications team make sure we get the right messages across to the public, and playing my role within an unbelievable team.
“I was never aware of exactly what goes on behind the scenes. The energy and enthusiasm is palpable and that’s inspiring during a time like this.
“So whatever I can do to help our staff at HQ and in the front line as well I am keen to play my part. With a medical background as well, I hope that helps.”
🗣️ "I wished I was in the owner’s parade ring ready to go and celebrate."
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) April 6, 2020
Roberts never took a backward step in action for Wales and the British & Irish Lions and plans to adopt a similar attitude to his hospital work.
“None of us have ever experienced anything like this. People see on the news every day about people dying from this disease and that number increasing,” he said.
“It’s a scary time – there is no doubt about that.
“But we all have a part to play in solving this problem from critical care consultants to nurses to porters to security staff to paramedics and to each and every member of the public.
“I really feel this could be Wales’ greatest ever team – if that makes sense.
“We have a problem to solve here in the country and if we all buy in, the sooner we will overcome the problem.
“However insignificant your role may seem, we all have a very important role to play.”