Hal Robson-Kanu helping NHS staff with his 'secret weapon' turmeric and has big plans for life after football

Alan Walter

Hal Robson-Kanu has never fitted particularly well into the stereotyped mould of what a modern footballer might be.

While the majority of his peers may have solely been building up to the impending Project Restart, instead the Londoner has been helping frontline NHS staff while also building up his business for life after football.

In the capital, that has entailed supplying care packages of natural turmeric shots to a Covid-19 ward manager and his staff at St Pancras Hospital through his company The Turmeric Co.

As well as helping to build up immunity, Robson-Kanu credits it with enabling him to continue a playing career in his teenage years and beyond after failing to recover from a horrific leg break with traditional medicine.

“It got to a point after the surgeries where I was returning to training and had severe pain in my knees,” he recalled. “Nothing worked, so my dad started looking at natural remedies.

"It proved a light bulb moment for me. It all started from that – like a secret weapon that allowed me to recover from training - and I never thought it would turn into a business venture.”

Since 2018, it has been for the striker, who is bidding for a return to the Premier League - with West Brom currently a point off the top of the Championship - once play resumes later this month. And last month alone, 1.5million shots were distributed nationwide.

(Getty Images)

The 30-year-old had been able to throw himself in headlong with diminished footballing commitments – “I thought I’d develop the business rather than twiddle my thumbs” – but now he’s back in full training with just three weeks before the Championship restart.

Robson-Kanu’s approach in lockdown has been a novel one but it is to the footballing side he has now shifted his focus, describing himself as “itching to get back.”

But as a black footballer, in doing so he shares the BAME concerns of the likes of Watford captain Troy Deeney as Project Restart first ramped up.

“I think it’s not necessarily your own health,” said Robson-Kanu, “but the health of others. He’s got a young family like a lot of us do, and with pre-existing conditions so he was well within his right to have those concerns.

“We have to ensure there’s a completely safe environment, that’s the key for everyone participating, not just the players but the staff and volunteers around the stadium that have to be in attendance. There will have to be zero margin of error.”

For Robson-Kanu and West Brom, there is more at stake than at many clubs with the very lucrative prospect of a return to the Premier League.

Some, such as QPR, have taken umbrage with the return date - but Robson-Kanu has no such issue.

(Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“There was a time we thought we might not come back at all so it’s good to have a date,” he said. “It’s massive for us. We’ve shown all season that we’re deserving of the top two places and we want to prove that by being back in the Premier League. Hopefully we’ll have the games to show that and we’ll pick up where we left off.

“There’s a chunk of the season left, there’s a lot left to play and a lot at stake. We just have to concentrate on the job in hand.”

Robson-Kanu has tuned into the Bundesliga matches on BT Sport in recent weeks and admits watching the lack of crowd atmosphere has taken some getting used to. And as a player, he admitted the lack of a live audience would be difficult, at least initially.

The Bundesliga has also led the way in sporting tributes to the news in the United States following the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Jadon Sancho led the tributes by showing a T-shirt with the words “Justice for George Floyd”.

And of the stance taken by Sancho, Robson-Kanu said: “I think there’s a lot going on around the world right now with social and global economic affairs. It’s a really difficult situation that’s going on right now and it’s something we need to give considerable thought to.”

To find out more, visit https://theturmeric.co