Laurent Duvernay-Tardif: Super Bowl champion using doctorate in medicine to help tackle coronavirus

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'I accepted this opportunity with a lot of pride and humility'

World | The Independent

Super Bowl champion, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, is helping tackle the coronavirus pandemic by volunteering at a local nursing home.

The Kansas City Chiefs player, who won the Super Bowl in February, decided to use his doctorate in medicine from McGill University, to help tackle the outbreak in Montreal, Canada.

The American football player went back to the city he grew up in, after the Chief’s Super Bowl triumph, but soon found himself stuck in the country when the pandemic hit North America.

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Mr Duvernay-Tardif said that training for the next NFL season is on hold, and wrote that when he saw that hospitals in the country were looking to use medicine students to help tackle the pandemic, he knew he had to put his studies to use.

At first, he just relayed messages about how to keep safe onto social media, as it was unclear if he would be able to assist with medical care.

“I fell into a grey area where they didn’t know what to do with me, because I don’t have a license to practice — yet,” he wrote in an article for Sports Illustrated.” In the interim, officials briefed me on an almost daily basis, and I used my platform and credentials to relay their messages.”

After being informed that he would be able to help in some capacity in person, he received a crash course in how to keep himself and others safe from the virus.

Since 24 April, he has been working in a nursing home, helping relieve the stress on workers there, who are having to work longer hours than usual to tackle the pandemic.

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The 29-year-old wrote that volunteering at the centre is a big change from his main career, where he plays in front of thousands of people in a stadium, and millions at home.

“Playing in the Super Bowl vs heading back to the medical system during a pandemic is totally different. Back in February, I knew that 100 million-plus people were going to be watching, and I wanted to win,” he wrote.

“When you’re going in to help it’s more about your duty as a doctor and a citizen. It’s not the time to be the hero and be impulsive. You’ve gotta do it the right way. You’ve gotta really take this seriously when it comes to washing your hands, not touching anything.”

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In an Instagram post that coincided with the release of his article, Mr Duvernay-Tardif said that he is proud to be helping.

“I accepted this opportunity with a lot of pride and humility. I will contribute to the best of my abilities to help: help put a smile on a patient’s face, help give a day off to nurses and orderlies who have been working countless hours since this pandemic started,” he said.

“We can all do our part and it’s touching to see so many people of different professional backgrounds coming together to do what they can. We have to keep working as a team and we will get through this,” Mr Duvernay-Tardif added.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 58,965.

In Canada, there are upwards of 51,210 cases of coronavirus and at least 2,990 deaths.

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