Women's Eagles star nursing the sick in New Jersey

We highlight more members of the rugby family working tirelessly to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Women's Eagles player Tess Feury.

USA international Tess Feury (pictured centre) is battling against coronavirus and her own understandable anxieties as a full-time nurse in New Jersey.

Working three 12-hour shifts a week, Feury serves the Paediatric Intensive Care unit as well as the Emergency Department in the fight against COVID-19. Right now, it’s all hands on deck, says the Rugby World Cup 2017 semi-finalist.

“Typically I am only directly assigned to two patients per shift since the children are often in critical condition,” said Feury. “However, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, our workload has changed to help us better manage the number of patients we are seeing. Throughout the hospital, it is a team effort to aid in this pandemic. That includes helping out on whatever unit needs it most that shift.”

The hospital she works at in New Jersey has, along with New York, become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA. Her own hospital treats thousands of cases in the area.

“I'm not going to lie, each day when I drive into work, I feel more anxious than I used to. I have no idea what I am going to walk into,” she said. “With the ever-changing protocols and new research coming out by the hour, the way I care for my patients is constantly evolving.”

On the front line

While the pandemic continues to evolve, with healthcare professionals having primary exposure to the scope and nature of the crisis, Feury finds herself inspired by the opportunity to support her country in a unique situation.

“Situations like this are why I wanted to become a nurse. I wanted to help the world when it needs me most and now I am truly getting that opportunity. I, along with millions of healthcare workers across the world, am on the front line of this pandemic and I’m honoured to help the country that has given me so much in its time of need.”

As Feury continues to put the long hours in at the hospital, the realities of remote training for the Women’s Eagles have become a new challenge in the mix. And still, despite the uncertainties associated with fighting the pandemic and resuming rugby, Feury is just as determined and optimistic in her devotion to both.

“With no organised practices or games, I am left to train on my own. I think these next few weeks are going to be a true test on my mental toughness. I need to stay diligent on my USA Rugby workouts and training during this difficult time and I know I’m up for the challenge with the support of USA Rugby and my teammates.

“Work-life-rugby balance has always been one of my strengths. When I’m passionate about something, I make sure I have the time to do it and do it right. Family, nursing and rugby are my main focus points for this year, and I am ready to give them my all.”

Backs against the wall

Other international players from around the world are among those working hard to support others during the pandemic.

Ireland's Claire McLaughlin is putting her skills as a qualified doctor to good use in the Accident and Emergency Department at Belfast’s Ulster Hospital.

“This week has just been mental – all the uncertainty takes its toll,” said the 28-year-old, who urged people to heed expert advice about controlling the spread of COVID-19.

"When our backs are against the wall you appreciate how much we all do for each other – just like on a rugby field.

“Everyone can have an impact and change the course of its path.”

France captain Gaëlle Hermet is another helping those in need.

The 23-year-old usually devotes some of her time to a nursing home in Cadours in conjunction with her rugby but is ramping up her efforts during the current crisis.

“We try to take care of everyone,” she said.

“There is, of course, a lot of precaution to protect our elders and the nursing staff – everyone is aware of what is happening, we are all talking about it.

“As we no longer have rugby, the goal is to help as much as possible with what is going on."


Photos: Mike Lee/KLC Fotos 

Last updated: Jul 10, 2020 12:34:43 PM
England v New Zealand - Rugby World Cup 2019: Semi-Final
World rankings Women's Men's Feature News Women in Rugby
The World Rugby Rankings in numbers
We take a look at some of the eye-catching numbers from the World Rugby Rankings in both the men’s and women’s game.
Photo of captain Babalwa Latsha playing for South Africa against Scotland
Feature News Women in Rugby women-news-power
Flying the flag for women’s rugby: Babalwa Latsha, the first African women’s player to go professional
Springbok women’s captain Babalwa Latsha made history when she became the first African women’s rugby player to turn professional in January 2020. Here she shares her rugby journey and hopes for the growth and development of the women’s game.
Rio 2016: France and Spain women run out at Deodoro Stadium on day one
Olympics Women's News Tournament News Women in Rugby Women-news-sevens
Rugby at the Olympics: Creating sevens history at Rio 2016
Patricia Garcia, Jade Ulutule and Pierre Gilles Lakafia talk to World Rugby about Rio 2016 and their roles in the first men’s and women’s sevens matches to be played at an Olympic Games.
World Rugby logo - one to use for generic releases
Media release Women's Men's News Tournament News Women in Rugby mz-advisory
International rugby set to resume in October as World Rugby Council approves temporary 2020 COVID-19 calendar
An exciting programme of international matches is set to take place later this year after the World Rugby Council approved a temporary adjustment to Regulation 9 to accommodate the release of international players for revised 2020 windows.
Men's Media release Women's Sevens News Tournament News Women in Rugby mz-advisory Challenger Series wr-covid19
Plans revised for HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021
World Rugby and its partners are continuing to focus on planning for the 2021 Series and the build-up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are now less than one year away
HSBC Sydney Sevens 2020 - Women's
Olympics Women's News Tournament News Women in Rugby Women-news-sevens
One Year To Go: Japan hope to establish sevens culture through Tokyo 2020
Kensuke Iwabuchi and Hitoshi Inada talk to World Rugby about their hope that the Olympic Games will leave a lasting legacy of sevens in Japan.
Barbarians Women Training
Women's Rugby World Cup News Tournament News Women in Rugby women-news-2021
Wales and Bristol Bears’ Elinor Snowsill on life as a gay woman in rugby
The fly-half opens up about her journey through the game and states why “it’s still really important” to talk about LGBTQ+ issues today.
Iran - Germany women
Women's News Tournament News Women in Rugby women-news-regions
How women are changing the game in Iranian rugby
We take a look at the history of rugby union in Iran, a country where more women play the sport than men.
Rugby - Olympics: Day 6
Olympics Women's Sevens News Tournament News Women in Rugby Women-news-sevens
One Year To Go: Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020
As the countdown to the Tokyo Olympic Games begins in earnest, we take a look at the frontrunners, the most-improved teams and those set to make their debut.
World Rugby logo - one to use for generic releases
Media release Women's Men's News Tournament News Women in Rugby mz-advisory
World Rugby Executive Committee recommends 2020 temporary COVID-19 international calendar
The World Rugby Executive Committee has today recommended a revised temporary 2020 international calendar with the express objective of optimising recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for the betterment of the global game at all levels.