While the COVID-19 pandemic has most of us locked up in our homes, socially distancing ourselves from the community, bunkering down to play our favourite games, there are a few out there working day and night to help those suffering from the virus. Amongst those treating the sick is a retired Indian professional CS:GO player Dr. Gokul Sagar, who formerly played under the alias 'dnm'.
The 32-year-old who retired three years ago in 2017, has played Counter-Strike at the highest possible level within India alongside multiple successful teams like Invictus, Entity Gaming and Virtual Impact, even representing India at multiple international tournaments.
Now working as a full-time emergency room doctor in the United Kingdom, he spoke to AFK Gaming in between his shifts at the hospital and shared a few things about his journey from a pro gamer to a doctor on the front lines of the fight against Coronavirus, while giving a few tips to us gamers to stay safe.
“Professionally it has been very challenging. We have been adapting and evolving day by day,” said Dr. Sagar when asked about the situation at his hospital. “This is serious stuff. I have been working with critically ill patients for a long time now, but with COVID-19 it’s just a blind battle and there is only so much you can do.”
While urging everyone to take social distancing and self-isolation seriously, he offers a ray of hope for gamers across the world. “Gamers are probably the safest bunch, as it would be easy to convince them to stay at home.” Taking cognizance of the fact that many gamers in countries such as India, Philippines, and South Korea are accustomed to playing from LAN cafes or PC Bangs he says, “I know! I’ve been there and done that. I would just ask them to follow the same precautions of distancing themselves from cafes and maintaining good hand and body hygiene, while productively using this time to develop discipline as it will indeed help you in your gaming careers. So play from home!”
He also has a request for gaming live streamers, “The gamers that stream and have people that look up to them, should share and speak about social distancing as and when they can.”
From dnm to Dr. Sagar, Gokul has gone from fighting for prize money and fame in the world of Indian CS:GO to fight for the betterment of mankind as a doctor, currently on the front lines of the battle against one of the most widespread diseases that our generation has witnessed.
Speaking about this journey he says, “I have been busy with a lot of things on the personal and professional front. I have now moved to London where I am working under the National Health Services (NHS) as an E.R. Senior Clinical Fellow.”
Despite retiring from the game, he continues to be an avid fan and still follows the international esports scene. As one of the early competitors in the game, it’s no surprise that he is “super excited to see Na’Vi back with the big boys.”
On the professional front, he says “I obviously love what I do. I have always loved being on the forefront, but watching your colleagues fall sick, while so many young and old struggle to fight against the virus is a bit dispiriting. But you get up the next day and go to work tired and sleepy just to forget about everything else and start doing what you love for another ten hours. It can be satisfying at times.”
Yet he is hopeful for the future and is looking forward to happier times once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. He wishes to see a few tournaments live in London and adds that he might also consider picking up a gaming rig for himself to play a few pugs with his friends during his free time.
Before returning to his shift, he gave us a list of the top five games that he would have loved to play during quarantine, “My top five games would be. One CSGO, without a doubt. Two Dota 2. Three FIFA, on the PlayStation. Four Fallout 4, I’ve always wanted to play it but never did. Five Call of Duty 4, the classic!”