More than rugby league for Bradford Bulls captain and NHS worker Amy Hardcastle

Bradford captain and NHS worker Amy Hardcastle interviewed by Jenna Rooks on the Covid-19 outbreak

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I have often been in awe of those who play in the Women’s Super League.

It is still not a professional sport, and most involved happily juggle family time with playing, training numerous times a week, all while holding down a full-time job.

Amy Hardcastle is one of those women.

She is the mother of nine-year-old Olivia, the captain of the Bradford Bulls, and she is set to play in her third World Cup next year. The 31-year-old was also named in the team of the decade selected by the NRL – the only England player to be recognised.

Perhaps though, at present, her most important job of all is her day-job.

With aspirations of one day becoming a nurse, Hardcastle works in A&E as a healthcare assistant at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

This past month, in particular, she has been working tirelessly. She has been fighting an almighty battle. She has been fighting the Covid-19 virus.

“When it was the odd case coming through, I was like ‘this is okay’ and I felt alright, but now with the numbers increasing, we are around it a lot more, it frightens me,” Hardcastle said.

“Am I being safe? Am I looking after myself? I have to come home, I have my fella here, my daughter. It is definitely scary knowing that person you’re dealing with is a positive case.

“You’re always doing the hand hygiene, having to wear these paper masks all the time, some of the cubicles they haven’t got doors, they only have paper curtains.

“It’s scary, being in a mask all day, you finish a shift and you genuinely feel like someone is sat on your chest, because you’re breathing in confined air.”

Hardcastle is picking up three extra shifts a week, which can each be a long 13.5 hours, and she admits noticing more patients arriving each day.

“Mentally preparing yourself for what’s to come has been hard, but we’re nowhere near how hard it’s going to be,” Hardcastle said. “I think we’re just at the beginning of it.

“You could get a text message the night before, saying ‘can anyone come in due to sickness?’ You just have to make sure you’re available.”

On March 26, the United Kingdom ‘clapped for our carers’ as a way of showing appreciation for all their hard work in the fight against the virus.

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