Three months ago, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of Canada became a football legend when he and the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years.
The 29-year-old is also the first medical school graduate to play in the NFL. While the novel coronavirus pandemic has delayed his residency program, he’s putting his education to good use — by joining the fight on the front lines!
Duvernay-Tardif and Florence, his girlfriend, were celebrating his big win in the Caribbean when they realized how serious the COVID-19 outbreak was. They decided to end their trip early and returned to Montreal in March.
After self-isolating for 14 days, Duvernay-Tardif wanted to get involved on the medical side of the battle, but he wasn’t sure how he could without a license to practice. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him!
Eventually, he got the all clear from officials as well as his team to assist medical professionals in a role similar to nursing. Now, he’s working at a long-term care facility near Montreal, where a crash course on PPE and contagion control taught him how exhausting — and rewarding — it is to be a health care worker.
“There’s so much that needs to happen just to visit with every patient — masks donned and hands washed and equipment like gloves and visors tugged on and off and thrown away,” he wrote for Sports Illustrated. “Honestly, I was drained after — and looking forward to going back.”
Meanwhile, he’s serving on the NFL Players Association task force to help determine when and how teams can safely start playing again.
For now, he’s focusing on saving lives. Part of that means encouraging the public to do whatever they can to help protect their neighbors.
“Now more than ever, we need to work as a team and help where the help is needed,” he wrote on Instagram. “We all must come together and do what is best for society, even if that means stepping out of our comfort zone and learning new things.”
What an incredible way to give back! Duvernay-Tardif is a hero in more ways than one, and he won’t let anything distract him from his goals.
“I have accepted this challenge with a lot of pride and humility,” he said. “I am committed to helping to the best of my ability — helping put a smile on a patient’s face, helping to give a day off to caregivers who have been working crazy hours since the start of the pandemic. Every move counts.”
We don’t need medical degrees to join him in saving lives. Let’s slow the spread by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. We’re all in this together, after all!
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