Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey has combined his role as a doctor at Temple Street Children’s Hospital with his status as a five-time All-Ireland winner to appeal to the GAA community and the public at large to work together in the fight against coronavirus epidemic.
McCaffrey has even shaved off his trademark beard as he joins the fight against coronavirus in the frontline of the health service and his message, delivered on Twitter and other social media channels, has already reached a huge audience.
The main advice from McCaffrey, son of Dublin legend Noel, is to follow the advice of his medical peers as Irish sports takes a backseat for at least the next month with all GAA activity suspended until the end of March at the earliest.
Dublin GAA asked Dr Jack McCaffrey to help share the @HSELive message to help protect yourself, your family, your teammates and your community. We ALL need to play our part to help stop the spread of coronavirus. #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/hqetSksRUV— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) March 15, 2020
In his very personal video, posted initially on Twitter, McCaffrey says, “I’m still getting used to seeing my own clean-shaven face, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been like that, and the reason for that is because it helps those of us who work in hospitals to protect ourselves and protect our patients while we’re dealing with people who have the Covid-19 disease.
“I’m just looking to ask that everybody else continues to do their bit to help out with that as well, whether that be washing their hands coming in and out of the house, avoiding public gatherings, I just want to thank everybody who’s been helping so far and re-emphasize how important they are.
“Please, please, please do continue to follow those instructions and thank you very much.”
Read more: Sport and life take a pause during Coronavirus pandemic
GAA fans have welcomed McCaffrey’s message and his words have been echoed by coaches, players, legislators and fans across the country.
Like McCaffrey, Limerick boss John Kiely has appealed to the GAA family to respect government and GAA advice in the coming weeks.
The 2018 All-Ireland winning coach told RTE, “At the moment we’re worried about the health and welfare of our family, our friends, our neighbors. I take great confidence from the fact that we have Dr. Tony Holohan and his team, and the government, I think they’re really on top of things.
“They’re being well-supported by the gardai, the army, our health service workers. We’ve over 120,000 people working in the health sector. I think out of respect for the effort that they’re putting in right now, I think everybody else needs to follow suit and do what they can.”
With club games suspended across the country, many GAA players will engage in personalized programs to maintain their fitness, but Kiely isn’t unduly worried for his squad.
Speaking on Monday, he added, “Since Thursday we’ve realized that a far bigger challenge is coming over the horizon. As for our players we’ve given them their individual programs that they can work on themselves at home.
“They’re well-able to manage that. They’re as qualified as an awful lot of the people who are instructing them. They’ve been through the mill a number of years now. They know what’s expected of them, they need to look after themselves and ensure that when this is all over that they can resume full training again.
“It’s an opportunity for them to rehab injuries and freshen up, and come back with a great appetite. Sport will be a huge player in lifting the spirits of the nation when it does come back on the agenda when this is all over.”
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