How Sports Stars Have Helped Tackle The COVID-19 Pandemic

by Dakota Murphey

The coronavirus pandemic may have caused widespread chaos throughout the globe, but it has also brought out the best in people.

From Captain Tom Moore raising more than £28 million for the NHS to every British man and woman lining their streets every Thursday in support of frontline workers, there have been several examples of solidarity during this trying period.

The same has also been true within the world of football. Having had all fixtures postponed for the foreseeable future, the footballing world has come together during the pandemic to offer support where and when it’s needed most.

Join us as we take a look at five renowned sports stars who have significantly helped towards tackling the COVID-19 outbreak.

  1. Neymar

Neymar may spend more time getting sports massages than actually out on the field, but he is one footballer certainly known for having charity at his heart.

While the Brazilian superstar may not have wanted to attract attention to himself in his latest effort, with the internet being the internet, it wasn’t long before people cottoned on that he was the man behind a £750,000 donation towards combatting the disease.

Splitting his donation between UNICEF and a solidarity fund created in his homeland of Brazil, Neymar chose to make the donation privately as he did not want to promote himself.

However, Chris Flores – a Brazillian TV presenter – decided to tell the world that it was the PSG man who’d donated the money, citing his ‘positive attitude’ towards incentivising other sports stars to do the same.

  1. Wilfried Zaha

As the co-owner of ZO Properties, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha recognised the importance of NHS workers in the fight against coronavirus and decided to open up his 50 London-based properties to help.

Available in Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Aldgate, the winger’s portfolio of properties were usually offered to business travellers but, throughout the pandemic, have been given to NHS staff working around the clock.

Urging health workers to reach out and contact him or co-owner Obi Williams, Zaha has selflessly come to the aid of numerous essential workers.

  1. Joe Cole

After setting up a new charity alongside his wife, former Liverpool, Chelsea and West Ham midfielder Joe Cole has provided an abundance of protective equipment and funds for the NHS.

Donating £25,000 of his own money towards launching the ‘Heroes – Help Them Help Us’ campaign, the husband and wife duo have not only raised more than £180,000 in public donations, but they’ve also helped produce thousands of medical visors for frontline NHS staff via their 50 3D printers.

What’s more, Cole’s charity has also sent food packages to NHS workers, provided childcare on their behalf, and offered them counselling and therapy when required.

  1. Pep Guardiola

With Spain being one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola decided to donate £920,000 of his own money towards providing medical equipment to Spanish frontline workers.

After deliberating with his lawyers on how best to use the money, the Manchester City boss donated his funds to a campaign being promoted by both the Medical College of Barcelona and the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation.

Now, largely thanks to Guardiola’s investment, the money will be used to help buy medical equipment and protective material for hospital staff based in Catalonia.

  1. Marcus Rashford

Perhaps the biggest advocate towards helping combat the coronavirus pandemic has been no other than England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford.

Having already worked with the charity FareShare for over a year, the 22-year-old decided – in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – to help the charity distribute food to children that rely on schools for their daily meals.

So far, Rashford has helped the charity to raise more than £20 million towards the cause, roping in support from major supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and the Co-Op.

Pret A Manger and Pizza Express have also contributed to the efforts, while over £150,000 has been raised via donations from the public.

As a result of his efforts, Rashford and FareShare have since helped up to 600,000 UK children who would have otherwise gone hungry because of the schools closing.

Final thoughts…

So, there you have it – five sports stars who have each, in their own way, significantly contributed towards helping combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether it be through a large donation, raising funds for urgent supplies or providing frontline workers with support, each of the examples above demonstrate just how important it is for us all to come together at this time.

After all, anyone anywhere can be affected by the coronavirus – only by unifying together can we make a difference and finally stop the pandemic in its tracks.

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