BATTLING Covid on the health service frontline while competing in the Women’s Super League has become part and parcel of Harriet Scott’s life over the past year.
And the tough-tackling Birmingham City heroine who is due to play Aston Villa is proud of her contrasting careers.
When she is not training or leading the backline of Carla Ward’s tenacious Blues, Scott can often be found assisting doctors and nurses at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
And it’s a vocation the left-back relishes despite the pressures of tackling the deadly virus in one of the nation’s largest hospitals.
Scott, 27, said: “I’ve worked within the NHS since I qualified as a physiotherapist (in 2014) and the strain that some people are under at this point in time is immense.
“I have seen unwell patients dealing with issues around their mental health especially now with Covid. People have a lot more stress because it’s a very difficult time.
“It’s admirable how staff are working and taking every single day as it comes.
“At the moment, it feels like there’s no way out. But I know that there is with the vaccine and the help that will hopefully bring in the next few months.
“It’s tough seeing what staff and patients are having to go through
“But I’m really glad I’m doing the job I’m doing at the moment.”
JUGGLING FOOTBALL AND A MEDICINE DEGREE
It is a hectic routine for Scott, 27, who balances her football and healthcare career with the third year of a degree in medicine at Keele University.
The former Reading ace, who has made 36 appearances for Birmingham since joining from the Royals in 2018, has been working at the Royal Stoke since August 2020.
The defender, who jointly captains Birmingham with Christie Murray, has been helping to ease the burden on staff working in the hospital’s emergency, surgery and mental healthcare wings.
Part of the Republic of Ireland ace’s duties includes checking heart rhythms, taking blood tests and helping medics insert intravenous drips into patients in need of them.
And Scott’s vital role outside of sport is wholeheartedly supported by Birmingham gaffer Ward and her backroom staff.
Scott added: “I really could not praise the club anymore for kind of being able to do what I’m doing right now. Blues have been instrumental.
“After a game on Sunday, I normally have a tutor session on Monday at nine in the morning where I join other medical students in a hospital ward or on an online class.
“We all bring cases that we have studied and talk through them and figure out diagnosis and treatments and then I may have a seminar on medicines or body parts.
“In the afternoon, I will spend one till five in the hospital and that repeats throughout the week.
“And then I have to fit my football training sessions around this.
“So I’ll do strength and conditioning sessions on my own at Birmingham that Holly – our coach there – or Carla (Ward) will help me out with.
“And then there are certain sessions throughout the week that I can make with the rest of the team.”
Scott is set to captain Birmingham this evening in a Second City derby clash with Villa.
The duel between the rivals, which coincides with the talented defender’s birthday, will take place at Damson Park.
The last match between the teams ended in a 1-0 win for the then injury-ravaged Blues who had just TWO subs on their bench.
Despite the victory, head coach Ward, 37, was not entirely pleased with her ninth-placed side’s display.
Ward said: “We were very, very poor. It was our worst performance of the season. But I am delighted we came away with a win after playing so poorly.
“I would like to think we have come on since then, however I do think Villa have come on since then.
“It will be a tough game. The pressure is on them, not us.”
Scott, who has 21 Republic of Ireland international caps, is looking forward to pitting her wits against Mana Iwabuchi.
The Japan superstar has been in fine form for Villa, who are tenth, since arriving in January.
The mercurial Villa forward netted the decisive goal that secured the club’s first home win this term.
Scott added: “They’ve (Aston Villa) have strengthened as a team. Iwabuchi is a phenomenal player.
“We’ve kind of seen already the impact that she’s had in the league. We’re not underestimating her at all.
“But we’re not going to give her too much respect.
“At the end of the day, it’s a derby, and that’s a completely different game altogether.
There’s a bit more bite to everybody. And we’ll see that going into the game, I’m sure.”