By Ton La, Jr.
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant; these are arguably the biggest names in the basketball world. These were my superheroes growing up. Even though I never met them, the sheer amount of publicity they received, on what seemed like a 24/7 basis, allowed the public and I a rare glimpse into how hard work and dedication can manifest in wins, awards and championships. I saw how they carried themselves, how they behaved, on and off the court. It inspired me to push myself, to find out what my own limits were, physically and mentally. I aspired to have the same mindset NBA players have, to constantly create new goals for myself after accomplishing what I had already set out. Now, the public and I have new superheroes: nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, and paramedics. These healthcare heroes are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
These heroes go to work every day knowing that they could contract the virus due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE.) These heroes have taken an oath to the public. That the sick are to be cared for and not ignored, regardless of the circumstances. Despite the shortage of N95 masks, the shortage of ventilators, and the sheer numbers of patients who test positive for the virus, there are thousands of nurses and physicians ready to attack the problem.
In this way, basketball and medicine are one and the same. Both require a willingness to tackle obstacles, to learn on the go, to keep perseverance and dedication alive to achieve a common end goal. For basketball, it’s winning World Championships, giving back to local communities, and expanding the game of basketball to countries worldwide. For medicine, it’s winning the fight against COVID-19, to get PPE into the hands of providers who have run out of this precious commodity, and to most of all treat and care for patients with COVID-19. This is why GetUsPPE.org has partnered with CloseUp360, pairing NBA players with physicians in their respective states to learn about on the ground efforts and informing the public what it is like to be doctors during this pandemic. Watch their conversations here and visit GetUsPPE.org to join the fight against COVID-19.
Ton La, Jr. is an MD/JD/LLM student at Baylor College of Medicine and is the Facebook Lead Admin for GetUsPPE.org.