When Myron Rolle left the NFL to enroll in medical school nearly a decade ago, he did so for a higher calling. He wanted to be in the operating room instead of running down on kickoffs, the rare choice to use the NFL as pitstop on the way to a more powerful platform.
The global pandemic of 2020 provided the sporting world a reminder of why Myron Rolle made precisely the right choice. He became one the faces of the medical world fighting the pandemic for the American sports audience. Rolle appeared everywhere from the NFL draft to “Good Morning America” to preach pragmatism during the pandemic and remind America of his unique journey.
“The world didn’t need another pro football player,” Sally Karioth, Rolle’s former Florida State professor, told Yahoo Sports. “But it sure needs Myron Rolle M.D.”
Rolle is a third-year neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, but spent much of this year shifting his focus from his normal spine and brain surgeries to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Rolle volunteered in the hospital’s “surge clinic,” a foot soldier in the endless fight against COVID-19.
Rolle downplayed his own role. But at a time when sports appeared to be fragile as the world paused in the spring, Rolle’s voice for caution and safety resonated.
Rolle’s profile rose to a level it hadn’t been since he was an All-American at Florida State, where he won a Rhodes Scholarship and defied football convention by putting off the draft to study in Oxford.
While that choice was second-guessed in football circles at the time, in 2020 it seemed particularly prescient. These days, Rolle has become a role model for young people — athletes and beyond — headed into the medical field.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people going into medicine who’ve drawn inspiration from my story,” Rolle told Yahoo Sports this spring. “It feels amazing. It makes your journey that much more fulfilling.”
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