Coronavirus: Paralympian Kim Daybell takes up medical role

British Para table tennis player Kim Daybell
British Para table tennis player Kim Daybell

Two-time Paralympian Kim Daybell has swapped his table tennis bat for working on the frontline of the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

The 27-year-old completed his medical degree in 2018 and since then has been combining sport with working part-time as a junior doctor.

But instead of training for Tokyo, he is now working full-time at the Whittington Hospital in north London.

“I want to try and help as best I can,” he told British Para Table Tennis.external-link

“One of the things that people seem to be struggling with is that feeling of powerlessness where they can’t do anything.

“I’m lucky to have the skill set to help fight what is going on and that is a positive that I’m taking.

“Obviously table tennis has completely taken a back seat now, but it will always be there for me, so I’ll keep it in mind for when this blows over.

“But for now, we just need to focus on making sure everyone stays healthy and looking after each other.”

Daybell, from Sheffield, was born with Poland’s Syndrome which affects the chest muscles on one side of his body.

He represented GB at London 2012 and Rio 2016 and also won a silver medal for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

He was coming to the end of his foundation year at the Whittington, but was asked to come on to a full-time rota from this week.

“I will be a medical senior house officer managing Covid-19 patients,” he explained.

“People come to hospital if they have the coronavirus and need support like oxygen, and if they are well enough to leave they get sent home. Every day they open up another ward to be a coronavirus ward and most wards are filling up by the day.”

The news that the Tokyo Paralympics will be postponed until 2021 is disappointing for Daybell’s sporting dreams, but he knows there are bigger things to deal with.

“As an athlete I can appreciate the difficulties that other athletes are going through now,” he said.

“A year is a long time in sport – especially Paralympic sport with the athletes who have deteriorating conditions and who’s to say where they will be in a year’s time?

“All the athletes have been gearing themselves up for this year and there is a lot of stress and high pressure involved and for all that to just dissipate is very difficult.

“But this is serious and we have to come together now with a sense of community – be vigilant, be strong and stay safe.”

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