The lack of personal protective equipment throughout the country has raised concerns surrounding the safety of hospital workers amid the public health crisis. Legendary basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is addressing the safety gear shortage. According to ESPN, Abdul-Jabbar donated 900 pairs of protective goggles to UCLA Health.
The former Los Angeles Laker—who donned goggles while competing—wanted to ensure that doctors, nurses and other medical facility workers were protected as they work to save the lives of those infected with the virus. Abdul-Jabbar, a UCLA alum, decided to donate the goggles to his alma mater’s academic medical center. “I want to thank the doctors and nurses at UCLA for all that they are doing,” he said in a video. “You guys should have all the best equipment while you’re on the frontline. Thank you for all you do, and good luck.” He also thanked the healthcare workers for risking their lives to help others.
Dr. Eric Esrailian says the team at UCLA Health is thankful for the basketball star’s donation and the outpour of support they have received during this uncertain time. According to the Los Angeles Times, there have been over 22,000 coronavirus cases in the state of California.
Professional athletes and organizations are stepping up to provide support for medical workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. ESPN reported the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and the NBA donated one million surgical masks to essential workers in New York City. The WNBA and NBA have vowed to donate $50 million towards coronavirus relief efforts. “The phrase ‘bigger than basketball’ is often used when discussing the efforts of a player or team to make a positive impact in their community,” read a statement released by the NBA. “The response to this global pandemic is the epitome of ‘bigger than basketball’ as the NBA looks to do its part to help people across the globe come together and work through these tough times.”