Rugby league player swapping the front row for frontline of coronavirus battle

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Lewis Hatton is set to swap the front row of a rugby league pack for the frontline of the coronavirus battle.

The Swinton Lions forward is in the final year of his nurse training and is one of thousands set to be fast-tracked into hospitals in coming weeks.

The 23-year-old this week opted into the government’s scheme to help the NHS deal with the pandemic and is now waiting to hear where he will be deployed.

The former St Helens junior said: “Because I’m in the last six months of my training I had the option to opt in. It’s the same thing I’ve been training for it’s just come earlier than I expected, and sometimes it’s better to be thrown in the deep end.

Hatton spends his usual weekends playing for Swinton in the Championship
(Image: Emily J Parker)

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“It’s a bit nerve-wracking but I wanted to give it a go. We haven’t been given any further information yet but we had an email round this week saying it was urgent and we had to let them know by Wednesday.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be working yet other than it will be in an NHS hospital close to home.”

Hatton has been a key figure at the part-time Lions having moved from neighbours Rochdale Hornets and been on the books at Saints, Salford and Warrington as a junior. But rugby league has been pushed to one side now with the sport suspended and his new career taking priority.

Hatton said: “I’ve still been ticking over with my training and have a little garage gym set up.

“The lads have a Whatsapp group where we get set homework as we’ve put it, and we’re keeping in touch with the coaching and strength and conditioning staff.

Hatton in action for the Lions against Featherstone Rovers
(Image: Peter Green)

“We’d just started to get going and now the season’s stopped but we can’t do anything about that.”

Instead Hatton will be focused on playing his part for the NHS – and at least has somebody to compare notes with at home.

He added: “My other half Lyndsey is a physiotherapist with East Lancashire NHS. She’s been on the frontline as well because she visits a lot of older people with mobility problems and has had to carry on working.

“My mum Ann Marie is a midwife so I’m following in her footsteps too. I was originally a health care assistant at a residential home and meeting nurses regularly there I saw the impact they were having on patients’ lives and decided to give it a go.”

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