BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - “Everyone has their role, but their roles change, and the truth is we’re all one big team," said Dr. Ryan Richard, a Baton Rouge General physician fighting on the front lines against COVID-19.
Dr. Richard’s training through a life lived on a different field has prepared him for his biggest test yet.
“It was awesome, you know. I grew up in Broadmoor going to those games as a kid. They rode me out on a golf cart when I was born right before my brother’s senior year, so you know, Broadmoor was in my blood for sure and my brother was a lineman on Coach [Bob] Carter’s teams,” Dr. Richard said.
For the first half of his life, sports is what Dr. Richard lived for.
“I got to play for Coach Rusty Price, which to this day I take lessons and things that he taught me,” the doctor said. “And you know I always wanted to play for Coach Price and I know him. His wife was my fourth grade teacher, so I knew their family for a long time. Getting to go back there and actually play for him, play on the field where I watched as a kid was really special."
Dr. Richard earned All-State honors in football, with his Bucs one game from a trip to the Superdome. He was also All-State twice in baseball following teammate, Ryan Theriot, to join Skip Bertman’s LSU Tigers.
Dr. Richard is now part of a team of nine ICU doctors working every day during this pandemic at Baton Rouge General and Our Lady of the Lake. And he knows the names as if he was Bertman presenting a lineup card at home plate.
“And I can name them all right now. Kevin Reed, Stephen Briere, Tanya Jaggneaux, Mike Sanchez. All eight are equally inspiring to me. We’re fighting a terrible infection, and we’re not having a lot of good outcomes for people and despite things that may frustrate us, we have to remember to keep our heads up and what we’re going is very important and we’re all going to get through this together,” said Dr. Richard.
“You know when you’re 16 and 17 you don’t always understand the lessons you’re being taught, and I remember being in the huddle at practice at Broadmoor and he [Price] would say, ‘Ownership. This is on you. No matter what happens, you’re the quarterback. This is on you. Don’t ever let them see you sweat.' But it prepares you for things like this and achieving excellence. Really learned how to keep composure,” he said.
The term “hero” is tossed around in sports as our favorite gladiators perform in big arenas, but we’re often reminded that the real heroes answer the call in emergencies and fight enemies to keep us safe.
“Every day that I come here, I see nurses making bonds with patients and caring like it’s a family member. I see respiratory therapists going in there, delivering care to people that a lot of people are scared to get anywhere near and they do it without any hesitation. It’s kind of what coach talks about: holding the rope you know everybody’s in," said Dr. Richard.
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