Olympian, nurse Lynch urges Aussies to act

Olympian, Hockeyroos goalkeeper and nurse Rachael Lynch has applied to work at COVID-19 clinics.
Olympian, Hockeyroos goalkeeper and nurse Rachael Lynch has applied to work at COVID-19 clinics.

Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch is urging Australians to act responsibly and help overcome the current health crisis, having bottled her own Olympic emotions and applied to work as a registered nurse at two COVID-19 clinics.

Lynch, recently voted the world's best keeper, was set to be one of the most important players in Australia's bid for gold at the Tokyo Games.

The unprecedented postponement of the Olympics means she must instead mull whether to reset and push on for Tokyo 2021.

The 33-year-old is yet to give that decision much thought, instead putting her name forward to work at coronavirus clinics at Perth's Fiona Stanley Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital.

Lynch was already working at Fiona Stanley's neuro-rehabilitation ward, having made it clear to Hockey Australia that one day a week would result in better life balance and on-field performances.

"But I didn't have any shifts (prior to returning to work last week) because we were supposed to be in Europe," the veteran told AAP.

"As soon as we finished up on Monday I went in and saw my boss. For the first time since being a graduate, I'm able to work full time.

"They're trying to recruit as many nurses and healthcare workers as they can, because they're anticipating the load is going to be massive soon.

"Lots of stuff needs to be taking place in order to get this right."

Government policy is part of that picture, likewise proactive planning from hospitals, but individual attitudes remain key to curbing community transmissions.

Some images, such as those of well-populated beaches in Sydney and Melbourne, have not inspired much confidence.

"If you're waiting to be told, it's too late," Lynch said.

"You see in the community that people aren't taking it seriously ... anybody in hospital for any reason, they're now put at risk (because of that).

"We had a guy walk into our ward the other day looking for the COVID-19 clinic, saying he wanted to get tested.

"We were like 'get out, get off the ward, are you kidding!? There's signs everywhere' ... the lack of common sense was remarkable."

Lynch is Australia's most-capped keeper and had set her sights on the 2020 Games since a quarter-final exit at Rio 2016.

"Most of the advice in the sporting world is to not make any big decisions now," she said, when asked about competing at Tokyo 2021.

"I've reflected on the thoughts, words and emotions you might use to describe an Olympics being postponed.

"None of them are relevant now. You can't say - devastated, disappointed or sad - because it just does not compare to what's actually happening in the world right now."

Australian Associated Press