Community working together to Platt'n the curve

Tuesday 05 May, 2020
Michael Platt has been working as a paramedic for three years and volunteering with Team Medical Australia for five.

Michael Platt grew up as a big motorsport fan, watching the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at every available opportunity.

However, his days as 'just a fan' changed when an opportunity arose during his time at university when he and some fellow medical students were invited to attend the MotoGP through Team Medical Australia (TMA).

From there, Platt was hooked and began attending as many events as he could before soon expanding his horizons to car racing, where he continues to volunteer at events conducted at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and Sandown Raceway.

With Platt now three years into his career as an advanced life support paramedic, having worked everywhere in Victoria from Ballarat to the South Australian border, he gets a lot of joy at volunteering in motorsport and utilising his skills as a paramedic to help those in the sport.

“It’s been awesome. I have gotten to know everyone in the TMA team and I get to have a bit of fun with them while enjoying all the action on track,” Platt said.

“We are more than a community. We are a family. There aren’t many things in life where you can randomly show up somewhere and know everyone and their roles and skillsets. We all keep in touch because we are all one big family.

“Working as a paramedic and volunteering at motorsport events both complement each other. It helps me out when I go to incidents and my training comes into effect. There are a lot of similarities between the two but also a fair number of unique traits.

“The main one being, as a paramedic, it can take anywhere up to an hour from when an initial call is made to us getting there and mostly everything has already occurred, whereas in motorsport, there are many things to take in consideration that are still happening, so when we arrive at the scene almost instantly, we need to be careful.

“We try to keep it simple in motorsport. We know the basics work really well and that is drilled into us from the start. I try to bring that attitude into my day-to-day job regardless of what is going on.” 

As the current COVID-19 situation has temporally postponed the motorsport season, Platt has been spending his time working in Ballarat in the fight against the pandemic and will soon return to the small Victorian town of Avoca, where he is based as a single paramedic.

On the frontline during the previous couple of months, Platt believes there hasn’t been a big difference between those working in rural and city areas, with all healthcare workers keeping the same approach.

“I think across the board – everyone has done really well. In the city and bigger towns, there are higher population densities meaning a higher case rate. But it still doesn’t change our methods in the countryside,” Platt said.

“It’s been strange. If anything, our workload and resources have not been overwhelmed or not even stretched, particularly in comparison to overseas examples where they have had it really hard.

“It would be because people are staying home and not calling us for small things, although there is a bit of an issue with them not calling us when they should be. We are still here for the usual stuff.

“It’s really great how most of the greater community has responded. The vast majority of people have done an excellent job and that puts us in the situation where we can look at winding things back in a shorter time frame.

“The main thing we need to make sure now is that we don’t become complacent. We have done really well to get to this point and if start to get a bit of sick of it, it leaves us in a position where we have a second or third wave and
Motorsport Australia: Return to Race