In this series of articles we meet, recognise and celebrate some of the many members of the hockey community – administrators, officials, players – who are at the frontline in the fight to contain and stop Corona Virus. Our ‘Excellent Eight’ featured in this series represent the thousands of people from the European hockey family putting themselves and their health on the line at this unprecedented time.
Maxime Chéron plays hockey at the Racing Club de France. A forward, he has been a member of the first team for 10 years, and he is missing the physical challenge and mental stimulus of regular hockey as Covid-19 takes its toll on all sports activities.
Away from the pitch, Maxime is one of the many many members of the European hockey community that is involved in the fight against Covid-19. In normal times, Maxime is a nurse at the Institut Curie in Paris, a hospital specialising in oncology.
As part of the Research and Wound Care Unit, Maxime’s daily work routine saw him taking care of cancer patients, particularly those with complex wounds, related to their cancer or their treatments. he would treat the wounds in consultation rooms, in the hospital or in the operating theatre.
That routine has now been blown out of all recognition as the hospital has been set up a new organisation to deal with the Coronavirus.
Maxine explains: “The difficulty now is to care for patients undergoing cancer treatments, for example, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These are fragile people, sometimes immunocompromised, which means they have a very weakened immune defence.”
At the hospital, Maxime is part of the team that rapidly identifies patients with the first symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, breathing difficulties. If one of these criteria is identified, then the patient is referred to an emergency physician for screening for COVID- 19, in order to be examined and referred to a care pathway adapted to his or her condition. It allows the patient, when possible, to continue cancer treatment while limiting the spread of the epidemic throughout the hospital.
One measure to safeguard the patients and staff is to conduct as many teleconsultations as possible. Patients make an appointment for a consultation by telephone/email, which reduces the risks posed both through travelling and attending hospital.
Maxine says: “We are currently working with extreme vigilance. Our biggest fear is the spread of COVID-19 in the hospital. But we are prepared if that should happen.
“What strikes me the most since the beginning of the containment is the solidarity and benevolence shown by the hospital staff, the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, maintenance workers, catering professionals, stretchers, reception staff. Everyone supports and helps each other to limit the spread of the virus. Our priority is the patient!”
At home, it is all change. Maxime’s wife has gone to stay with her parents to mitigate the risk of catching the virus. The daily hockey training has disappeared, although Maxime does rigorous physical training at home whenever he can. He says one of the things that brighten his day are the regular messages he receives from teammates.
“I get a lot of encouragement from my hockey friends. Every day I receive a message of encouragement from them. They ask me if I’m okay if the situation is not too complicated if the epidemic is gaining ground in my hospital. I inform them of the situation and reassure them at the same time.”
If there is a positive to be taken from the current situation, Maxime says it is the ever-strengthening bond between his teammates that has developed in the face of self-isolation. “This outbreak has strengthened the ties between teammates. Being in a containment situation is not an easy thing for hockey players. Staying in lockdown for a whole week when we’re used to getting together every day to practice, laugh, share. We miss it terribly.
“We can’t wait for this outbreak to go away. To get back to good times and practice and play hockey again.”