Wales lacrosse captain Dr Eleanor Gaastra has put her sporting ambitions to one side as the coronavirus pandemic forces the focus on to her day job in intensive care.
The 31-year-old is a specialist anaesthetist at Salisbury District Hospital and admits her thoughts currently barely extend beyond keeping her patients – and herself – healthy.
Gaastra told the Sunday Telegraph: “Everybody in the country’s life has changed. The focus is obviously on coronavirus – and so it should be.
“So, my focus has changed too. Lacrosse has currently been put to one side.
“Our major championships are cancelled and my main focus is to look after my patients, and then I must look after myself, so my most intense training, which is very sport specific, has stopped.
“My training has now changed more to help maintain my physical and mental health, so I can stay healthy for my patients.”
Today we say thank you to Ellie.
Ellie is not only Team Wales captain but an anaesthetist working in intensive care.
— Wales Women’s Lacrosse (@WalesWomenLax) March 26, 2020
There has been much focus on the increased need for ventilators to combat the respiratory effects of the virus, with the government’s call for production bringing a response from sporting outfits including the seven British-based Formula One constructors and the Ineos sailing team.
Gaastra – who was raised in London, but has roots in Merthyr – has a key part to play in operating that technology and her wider role has parallels with her sporting endeavours.
She added: “There are a lot of similarities between being an anaesthetist and captaining your country. I have the responsibility to lead the theatre team. It is like being part of a sports team in that sense.
“When I am on the pitch, I am quite a supportive player. That is going to be key going forward with the coronavirus. I am going to be supporting other doctors who might be outside their comfort zone.
As Eleanor gets ready to go on her night shift, she shares an important message… 👩🏼⚕️🔊
— Telegraph Women’s Sport (@WomensSport) March 28, 2020
“We will see junior doctors redeployed to other areas. Some who might not usually work in intensive care will be working with us, so it is really important to support them in their roles and to teach them.
“As anaesthetists and intensive care doctors, we are in the spotlight now because we would usually be the doctors people look to to put people on ventilators.
“That is why we are going to be particularly important in this scenario we are going into.”