Former NFL player now a doctor treating coronavirus patients

The NFL released its 2020 schedule this week with plans to start the season on September 10th. Former NFL player Myron Rolle, now a third-year neurosurgery resident at Mass General Hospital, told CBSN why he thinks sports should be delayed right now, and discussed his journey from the football field to the operating room.

With a little over four months to go until the 2020 NFL season is scheduled to begin, Rolle encouraged caution. “I think we can be comfortable being a little bit uncomfortable delaying sports for a second,” he said.

“We know sports are important and we know we’ve coalesced around sports in moments of tragedy and dire times with Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and now this pandemic. We want to escape to this avenue, to this place we can just enjoy some of our greatest athletes and moments, but for now I think the premium needs to be placed on the health of these players and these athletes,” Rolle said.

After three seasons in the NFL, Rolle retired to go to medical school and is now in his third year of residency at Mass General Hospital in Boston. He credits his football experience in helping him fight against COVID-19, despite his focus being in neurosurgery. 

“I’ve had to be a part of a bigger team in this COVID-19 fight because as a neurosurgery resident we do brain tumors, spine, peripheral nerve surgery, and now in COVID-19 the fight is more in upper respiratory issues and trying to manage complicated medical issues that we’re not so used to as surgeons,” Rolle said. 

“Being a part of a bigger team, being part of the bigger scope of practice here at Mass General Hospital, trying to do the best we can. I think also mitigating pressure has helped me,” he added. “This is a very intense time with a lot of uncertainty so football has taught me, stay calm.” 

Focusing on health trends is how Rolle believes sports can determine whether it’s safe to resume. “Go slow, see what hospitalizations are happening, how much oxygen is being used, how many hospitals and ICUs are being transformed back into their normal form,” he said. “Are we allowing visitors into the hospital? Are elective procedures opening up again? Are outpatient facilities opening up again? Once we see these trends go down, then I think we can resume these conversations about starting sports again.” 

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