From donating masks to meals, players and staff across the NFL have found ways to step up for their respective communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Others, like ex-NFL safety Myron Rolle, are battling the deadly disease on the front lines.
Rolle spent two seasons in the NFL before leaving the league in 2013 to pursue a degree in medicine. The ex-Tennessee Titan graduated from Florida State University’s College of Medicine in 2017 before beginning a residency in neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Now, Rolle finds himself battling the coronavirus crisis first-hand at MGH. But instead of neurosurgery, Rolle’s floor has been converted into a coronavirus ward, where he currently assists patients fighting the virus.
The 33-year-old Rolle told The Boston Globe’s Nora Princiotti that football has somewhat prepared him for a moment like this.
“When there’s something we weren’t prepared for on the football field, you have to be able to use your mind, be creative, communicate, get lined up and get ready to do the play, get ready to execute,” Rolle said, per Princiotti. “This is analogous to that; it’s exactly what we’re doing here and everyone has sort of taken that mindset, which has been helpful.”
New England Patriots cornerback and Rolle’s former teammate Jason McCourty isn’t surprised to see him in this role.
“You had a guy that was doing football by day and continuing to study with his humongous text books that he has in his apartment by night, making sure to stay up with everything that he was doing,” McCourty said. “I just remember always talking to him and joking around, ‘You always are going to have my vote,’ whenever he decided to run for President. He just has that personality.”
Rolle soon will take part in MGH’s “surge clinic,” where he’ll treat patients off the street with the help of other doctors and infectious disease specialists. It isn’t exactly the field he chose, but Rolle knows shifting his focus is better for the greater good.
And while he’s no longer a professional athlete, Rolle thinks the sports world has a role to play in coping with the pandemic, too.
“The sports world, the administrators and the leagues, they need to place a high premium on the health of America, the health of the world and certainly this country. That includes the fans, the players and everyone involved,” Rolle said. “Put that the first priority. Place the convenience of getting back sports — which we all love, I certainly love it, I’m an advocate for sports and an advocate for football — put that second.”