Rediff.com  » Sports » Former Dutch keeper in frontline against COVID-19

Former Dutch keeper in frontline against COVID-19

Source: PTI
March 30, 2020 18:33 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Former Dutch hockey goalkeeper retired from the game in 2016 at the age of 26 and then went on to complete her medical degree at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam

IMAGE: Former Dutch hockey goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek retired from the game in 2016 at the age of 26 and then went on to complete her medical degree at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Joyce Sombroek/Instagram

Joyce Sombroek always knew how to stop the heavy, white cork ball flying off the astro-turf and threatening to crash into her helmet visor as she defended with stick and gloves.

She did that well for The Netherlands while claiming the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, and the World Championship in 2014, and back-to-back 'Best Goalkeeper' awards are testimonies to that.

 

Now Sombroek, who is also a doctor, is at the forefront of a battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, swapping the goalkeeper’s uniform for a Hazmat Suit as she treats patients affected by the virus.

Sombroek retired from the game in 2016 at the age of 26 and completed her medical degree at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

"When I finished my studies almost two years ago, I started working in the Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Cardiology and Gastro-Intestinal departments," Sombroek, who made 117 appearances for the Oranje between 2010 and 2016, was quoted as saying by the FIH website.

"After that I went to the Emergency rooms at a big hospital in Amsterdam to become more experienced in acute situations and traumatology. But since the start of March, I started training to become a General Practitioner (GP), where a lot of the healthcare in the Netherlands is performed, and we currently find ourselves in a very special situation."

Sombroek works at a medical centre in Aalsmeer, a town located 13 kilometres south-west of Amsterdam.

Initial contact with patients is made via telephone in order to determine whether hospital treatment or a home visit is required. If it is the latter, Sombroek -- or one of her colleagues -- assesses the patient wearing a protective suit to help contain the spread of the virus.

Joyce Sombroek won the Olympic gold with the Dutch team at the 2012 London Games and the World Championships in 2014. 

IMAGE: Joyce Sombroek won the Olympic gold with the Dutch team at the 2012 London Games and the World Championships in 2014. Photograph: Joyce Sombroek/Instagram

Since the majority of people have mild symptoms, they can stay at home.

"A lot of people have to stay at home, and I feel grateful that I can help others. We are preparing as well as we can and it's slowly getting busier.

"Much of my (GP) training has been cancelled, but the most important thing is providing care to those who need it. I am really happy that I can do my job, and I think that accounts for everyone working in healthcare or other vital jobs."

Regarding the Tokyo Olympics postponement, Sombroek feels the "one and only right decision" was made.

"I understand it was a difficult one because it is really complex. One or two months ago I still thought that it could happen, but the virus spread very quickly.

"It is such an important event, and everyone works towards it for many years, so it is a shock for the athletes and people who are involved.

"But you want the Olympics to be fair, for everyone to be healthy and you want fans to be there. I think it is a good thing that it will be held in 2021 and not cancelled completely, which would have been devastating.

"It is something really positive that we can all look forward to next year, and I am sure it will be an amazing event."

She would have been doing something else had this pandemic not happened and the Olympics not postponed. She was supposed to combine her love of sport and medicine as a doctor at the 'TeamNL Tokyo Center', the central hub where Dutch sports fans would gather in their thousands throughout the Games.

"I am still hoping to be there next year, and it will be amazing to be part of it. Hopefully, I can get the chance to cheer for my former team-mates and maybe see some other sports whilst there.

"In the future I'd really like to combine being a general practitioner with sports medicine, as I still really like working toward goals with a team of motivated people."

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT