Keegan Brown made a name for himself by throwing darts with pinpoint accuracy. During the coronavirus pandemic, Brown has temporarily thrown his darts aside to help determine medical causes with pinpoint accuracy.
Brown, 27, who calls Newport home, works as a lab technician in the blood sciences department at St. Mary’s Hospital when not chasing his dreams on the Professional Darts Corporation Tour. Normally, his schedule would call for him to work three days a week. During the pandemic, NHS worker Brown is carrying much more responsibility.
“I have taken on extra hours to help support the service,” Brown told the Sun. “Currently I’m still working in the lab but my daily tasks are more varied due to the situation of Covid-19 and with us unfortunately being the only hospital on the island.
“Everyone is very determined and committed to play their part now. And I could not be prouder to be part of such a team.
He is handling a minimum of five days a week in the lab, sometimes working double shifts and taking overnight shifts.
The latest numbers showed 189 cases of COVID-19 on the Isle of Wight as of May 24. Brown’s role as a lab assistant is one he considers vital in helping to do whatever he can to help out both patients and his co-workers.
“I feel it’s the right thing to do during a pandemic crisis,” Brown recently told BBC Sport. “I couldn’t just sit at home whilst my colleagues up and down the country are at work, fighting against this virus daily. If they can use my skills in a way to help, I want them to.
“I’m in a biochemistry and haematology laboratory identifying health problems and monitoring chronic diseases as well. We are completing our day-to-day tests as usual and now following procedures in the chain of testing for Covid-19.”
Brown Still Throwing When He Can
Known for his pink shirts when he steps up to the oche and for making an entrance to his matches with the Ramones belting out Blitzkrieg Bop, Brown hasn’t completely forgotten about his other career.
“I’m still trying to make time to practise,” Brown told The Sun, “but feel like I am needed more at work for now.”
Oddly enough, while he’s devoting the most significant part of his life to helping others, darts, Brown’s sport, is one of the few that’s been able to maintain competition throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wagering was offered at online sportsbooks on the PDC Home Tour, a special tournament that allowed for players to play indoor tournaments at their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thirty-two rounds of competition were contested between April 18th and May 17th. The 32 winners from each of these rounds qualified for the playoffs.
Brown competed in three of the 32 rounds.
“I am keeping my arm in and trying to get online for a game or two when I can,” Brown told BBC Sport. “I just currently feel my focus is needed elsewhere at the moment.”
The PDC Home Tour didn’t begin well for him when he first participated on April 28th. After losing his first match to Conan Whitehead, Brown was unable to establish an internet connection with his other opponents – Max Hopp and Mike De Decker – and was forced to forfeit all three of his matches.
Back in action May 11th, Brown finished second in his group with a 2-1 record. He defeated England’s Reece Robinson 5-4 and dropped Scotland’s Robert Thornton 5-2. But he was blanked 5-0 by the ultimate group winner, Portugal’s Jose de Sousa.
Left with once chance to win his way through to the playoffs, Brown again finished second with a 2-1 slate on May 17th. He defeated England’s Bradley Brooks 5-1 and downed Gerwyn Price of Wales 5-4. However, a 5-3 setback against England’s Joe Cullen prevented Brown from advancing.
“Enjoyed playing in the (PDC) Home Tour, really thankful for (the) opportunity to play and although it was two second places, it was more than I had hoped for with the lack of preparation!” Brown posted on Twitter.
Brown is currently ranked No. 30 in the world. He was the 2014 PDC World Youth Champion.
“My greatest achievement was my 2014 PDC World Youth Champion win,” Brown told BBC Sport. “To be called a world champion during a period of a sports career is a feeling everyone wants.”
Brown made it through the top 16 of the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship. Facing 16-time world champ Phil Taylor, Brown lost 4-0.
As much as he loves to throw darts, and even with all international recognition that ability has gained him, Brown understands the work he’s currently doing in the hospital lab has to be his priority.
“Although both make me feel really good, they are so very different,” Brown told BBC Sport. “Working with the NHS will hopefully save lives. It’s a part I do for myself and others.
“Playing darts is more personal and I do it for love of the game and personal achievement. Obviously, I enjoy being appreciated for both and I am very lucky.”
Hearing the Thursday night clap for careers one night on the way home from a shift at the hospital reminded Brown that he was making the proper choice to keep his focus on his lab work.
“Myself and my colleagues in the laboratory all said, when you can hear people’s appreciation, it really hits home that people are thankful to what we are doing during this time of need,” he stated to BBC Sport.