Myron Rolle, a former NFL player for the Tennessee Titans, is a neurosurgeon in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital. Rolle, now at the frontline of the battle against COVID-19, embodies what it means to be more than an athlete.
This pandemic and the consequential canceling of major sports league’s seasons has reminded us of a truth we always knew: life is bigger than sports.
“I gotta do what I gotta do because people are counting on us right now. This is our time to help very sick people. So that motivation continues to drive me every single day,” said Rolle.
Rolle is a Bahamian American former football safety drafted by the Titans in the 2010 NFL Draft. In 2013, Rolle left the NFL to attend medical school at Florida State University College of Medicine. He graduated in 2017 and matched to a neurosurgery residency at Mass General and Harvard Medical School.
“Football has never left me,” said Rolle.
“I still wake up in the morning and think of the operating room like a game, like it’s showtime, let’s perform.”
Rolle and other healthcare workers are the most at-risk of contracting this deadly virus. Their close proximity and caring of patients with the virus puts them at serious risk, and as hospitals in the U.S. make clear their staggering lack of supplies, workers falling ill would be catastrophic.
Rolle and his colleagues are nothing short of heroes.
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Coming off a 24hr shift. Our hospital has enacted a mandatory “mask on” at all times policy. Future already told us to keep our “mask on” and give out prescription pills when indicated lol. For real though..stay safe, everyone. Do your part. #2% #RepTheSetGottaRepTheSet #FlattenTheCurve
The determination and mental fortitude it takes to make it to the NFL, and then last in the league has a lot of commonalities in what it takes to be a medical professional. Courage, strength amidst adversity, a willingness to fight in dire times.
An offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player ever to become a doctor during his NFL career. He, as of February, is also a Super Bowl Champion.
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National doctors day 🌈 Special thoughts to all my colleagues and friends that completed their residency and are now at the frontline fighting this pandemic. @charlesalacroix @catherinebeging @avril.mai.juin @flocayou @jnblechimiste @lpsurprenant @pboutch @dejeuner57 @stephigourdz @annamaria.preziosi @dr.laliberte @gaual #covid_19 #nationaldoctorsday #doctor #fighting #stayathome
With sports stalled, it is apparent how important the games are. They give people something to root for. It’s something real and tangible that comes down to God-given talent, work ethic, and even just luck sometimes.
But sports are still not life-and-death, and right now, as everyone is reeling from the effects of COVID-19, our reliance on essential workers such as medical professionals is clearer than ever before. They are the ones fighting a very real threat that has put us all in danger.
Rolle’s transition to a medical professional is inspiring. It is never too late to change your direction. Never too late to do more. In Rolle’s case, it was about being more, more than a football player, more than an athlete.
We commend Rolle and his coworkers; they are the best of us.