Rugby

Italy International Joins Covid-19 Fight As Volunteer Ambulance Driver

Italy International Joins Covid-19 Fight As Volunteer Ambulance Driver

The rugby calendar being brought to a halt left Maxime Mbanda with time on his hands.

The 27-year-old is a 20-cap Italy international who also plays for Pro14 side Zebre.

Italy has been one of the countries worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with over 6,000 deaths so far.

Though he has no medical expertise, the backrow still wanted to volunteer. He joined the Yellow Cross and now finds himself driving an ambulance in Parma.

"The situation as we all can see is of full emergency, even if until a few days ago people had not understood what was happening inside the hospitals," he said in an interview on the Italian Rugby's Facebook page (translated by the Six Nations website).

What I see is worrying, difficult. There are doctors who try to save lives 24 hours a day.

The fact that my father is a doctor and surgeon meant that I felt the will to help others, even working as an ambulance volunteer as I’m doing now. In rugby support is the word.

I have been doing this for 10 days now with an average of 11 hours of service per day.

From 8am in the morning I am at the Croce Gialla and when the calls arrive we go to pick up the less serious patients, who are perhaps recovering and who leave the hospital to continue the quarantine at home.

We have to dress in a particular way, with double gloves, mask, glasses and special shoes. Before going out you have to remember to go to the bathroom, because you don’t know when you can do it again, because you can’t undress on duty.

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Mbanda added that he has been supported in his efforts by Zebre coaches. He also trains before and after his volunteer shift.

"There is always talk of the elderly, but I have dealt with both the elderly and the young patients. Covid-19 can hit everyone, we must not underestimate it absolutely.

"It has been done and we pay the consequences. We must follow the rules imposed by the government, because they are made by people who have studied."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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