NFL player turned neurosurgeon admits ‘hectic’ life during COVID-19 pandemic

A former NFL player turned neurosurgeon now is tackling a more intimidating opponent: coronavirus.

A third-year neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Myron Rolle is giving the world a peek into life as a health-care professional on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“I was walking through the emergency department. I was seeing so many individuals with respiratory distress and respiratory compromise, and the numbers are staggering,” he told ESPN. “Our neurological floor has been transformed into a floor just full of COVID-19 patients. It is hectic, that’s for sure.”

“As soon as you get into the hospital, which I’m here now, we have to put on these protective masks,” Rolle explained. “Everybody has to wear them.”

Rolle played football at Florida State University from 2006 to 2008 before he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. He left the team in 2013 to pursue medicine, according to CBS Sports. He earned a Rhodes scholarship and graduated with a master’s degree in medical anthropology from Oxford University in London. Rolle’s NFL career was only three years long and he never played a regular season game.

Like many hospitals, Massachusetts General must make changes to accommodate the rapidly increasing population of coronavirus patients.

“Our bedspace, our operating rooms may even be turned into ICUs because there are so many people that are either positive with COVID-19 or suspected of having it,” Rolle said. He also admitted the hospital is running out of supplies and showed an empty surgical mask cabinet.

Even though Rolle is facing an unprecedented situation, he doesn’t regret his path. Although he isn’t on the football field, the game still informs his new career.

“Honestly, looking back on it, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “Ten years ago, I always had the thought that after football was done, I would go into neurosurgery. “Football has never left me. I still wake up in the morning and think of the operating room like a game, like it’s showtime, let’s perform. I gotta do what I gotta do because people are counting on us right now.”

Rolle added that his patients are the reason he gets out of bed every morning.

“This is our time to help very sick people,” he concluded. “So that motivation continues to drive me every single day.”

-Atlanta Black Star