Jamie Roberts volunteering for the NHS coronavirus fight in Cardiff

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Rugby star Jamie Roberts, a qualified doctor, speaks of his voluntary role in the NHS.

Wales international Jamie Roberts has volunteered to help the National Health Service fight against coronavirus.

The qualified doctor has returned from South Africa, where he has been playing for Stormers, and has become involved with the Cardiff and Vale Health Board.

The centre, who has 94 Wales caps, completed his medical degree from Cardiff University in 2013.

"Life has changed significantly over the last few weeks from a rugby player to be doing this role," said Roberts.

The three-times-capped British and Irish Lion added: "We got the last flight out of South Africa after it went into lockdown there.

"Professional sport takes a back seat in these periods of an unprecedented public health crisis."

Roberts explained how his new role came about and says he will not be involved in the medical process.

Honorary role

Jamie Roberts during his medical studies in 2007
Jamie Roberts (R) during his medical studies in 2007

"I have been sitting on a medical degree for quite a long time and thought why not try and help out here in Cardiff?," said Roberts.

"I thought I would volunteer because it was important so I have taken an honorary role with the innovation team here.

"The NHS has a lot of opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers to try and offer their services and they are still recruiting and that's an important message to get across.

"My role is to support people where I can and I will probably end up doing some communications work and help promoting how much good work people are doing.

"The first few days have been amazing and just seeing how everyone is pulling together and working hard for the cause each in their own little way.

"It is a huge crisis and the challenge is there in our faces and we are only going to solve it together as a collective.

"Our lifestyles have been turned on their heads overnight and there are a lot of challenges ahead.

"It will take the discipline and resilience of everyone to overcome it."

Surreal stadium visit

Jamie Roberts
Jamie Roberts made the last of 94 Wales appearances against New Zealand in November, 2017

Some sporting arenas in Wales have been transformed into field hospitals with the Principality Stadium having capacity for 2,000 beds.

"I was at the stadium on Monday afternoon and that was surreal," Roberts told BBC Sport Wales.

"I walked into the media room, which has been turned into a kind of war operations room with workers from all different facets of society.

"It is only right we hope for the best, but sensibly prepare for the worst.

"That is why the field hospital at the stadium is being built and in some ways we hope that work is in vain and you don't have to use all the facilities.

"What I have seen is just how dedicated the staff are here and how hard they are working in difficult circumstances in every facet.

"Some staff members will maybe have relatives or friends who are suffering or even grieving and their ability to work so hard through this is so impressive and humbling."

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