Med Student Gets Drafted to the NFL

It is not uncommon for undergraduate students to participate in extra-curricular activities, including athletics. Many college athletes sacrifice social relationships, sleep and perhaps other obligations to pursue their passion for sports while keeping up with their school work. But imagine doing this all in medical school.

For two years, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has played offensive lineman for McGill University while also being a medical student! Being that the school is located in Canada, their educational model is a bit different than that of the United States — instead of having to complete 4 years pursuing a bachelor’s of arts or science and then going on to medical school, students are able to matriculate in McGill’s undergraduate medicine programs where they can graduate with an M.D.,C.M.: Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in as little as 4 years.

Duvernay-Tardif juggled his medical studies with his football schedule for the first 2 years of medical school. Between morning lifts and afternoon tackle-drills, he tackled biochemistry and constructed mnemonics, just like the rest of his classmates. For 2 years, he seemed to manage – saying that he worked with his coaches and that he always put medical school first. On the day of the 3rd round draft pick, Duvernay-Tardif had every intention of watching, understandably so, for there was a reasonable chance he would be picked. And his name was called – by a neonatal intensive care at McGill’s medical center to assist with an emergency C-section.

But the Kansas City Chiefs were persistent – in their 6th round pick, the Chiefs selected Duvernay-Tardif. Many call Duvernay-Tardif’s technique “crude” due to his inexperience but so far, he has proved surprisingly athletic for his 300 lb. frame. He also says that he continues to try to change his technique in order to prevent sports-related injury, including head trauma.

Duvernay-Tardif has accepted his draft pick and now intends to complete medical school while simultaneously playing major league football (oookay). He hopes to complete his clinical training in 2 month increments during the off-season and to finish his 4th year of training over a 3 or 4 year span. He also is committed to using his medical knowledge to help improve safety in the game. Duvernay-Tardif says he will wear a sensor in his helmet to track the frequency and force of collisions that are common on the offensive line. He hopes to help his coaches understand when his teammates are at risk for repeated concussions and when to prevent these players from returning to the field.

Can anyone say “team doctor”? Literally.

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Rachel Greenberg, "Almost" MD

Rachel Greenberg is an editor for The Almost Doctor's Channel hailing from Great Neck, NY. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology, where she spent much of her time either singing a cappella or being a pre-med. In addition to maintaining an interest in holistic medicine, Rachel boasts a world-class Carrie Underwood impression.



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