COVID-19: A doctor’s tips for players

By International Rugby Players

Although International Rugby Players board member Dr.Sharron Flahive has been in medicine for almost 30 years, she’s never seen anything like this.

With large parts of the world on lockdown, COVID 19 has played havoc with Rugby, with professional competitions shut down almost everywhere.  

Unprecedented and tough times they may be, but the former Waratah’s team doctor believes in the old saying – “this too shall pass”. In the meantime, she acknowledges that the lockdown can be very tough for players and their families. 

“The athletes “reason for being” is their sport and their exercise. They’ve had that removed from them and it’s the same as anyone that loses their job – it’s one part of our reason for being” said Dr.Flahive.

“It’s devastating. It has a significant affect on their well-being and their worthiness.”

“Most of these women and men are team players and enjoy the camaraderie of the sport they’re playing, so now you’ve taken a team player into isolation. Their level of anxiety and mental health and wellness will take a knock.”

However, Dr. Flahive, who runs her own practice in Sydney after spending 20 years with the NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby, is remaining positive despite the doom and gloom. 

“This is our cause now. We know what to do, we just need to do it.”

“This will pass and we will beat it. It’s going to take some time…certainly talking to all the medical personnel, they genuinely believe we will come to the end of this.”

Elsewhere, player associations across the globe have been helping players since the arrival of the virus in their country. 

Along with essential information for combating the disease, players are urged to use resources like Lift The Weight, Tackle Your Feelings and Headfirst to ensure that they are looking after their wellness along with whatever physical activity they can do. 

Irish Senior Player Development Manager (PDM) Deirdre Lyons is encouraging players to use the time wisely.

“One of the first roles of our PDMs during this time is to make personal contact with every current player to see if there is anything immediate that they need. With the season postponed, now is a good opportunity for players to invest some time in their personal development.”

“That might include taking a short course or learning a new skill, creating or updating their LinkedIn profile or auditing their finances”

Rugby Players Ireland & Zurich run the “Tackle Your Feelings” mental wellbeing programme and App ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

    “Looking after players’ mental health is crucial during this period of uncertainty and players should avail of the many different tools to help stay positive and connected to others. 

    “Players are also encouraged to support government messaging and be role models in this regard. Expressing gratitude and helping others has been proven to positively impact on a person’s wellbeing,” added Lyons. 

    For further information, players are advised to contact their national players association for more details. 

    International Rugby Players

    / Contributor

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