DENNIS WASZAK Jr. AP Professional Soccer Writer
Florham Park, NJ (AP) —Laurent Duvernayer Diff was far from the football field this time last year when shoulder pads and playbooks replaced scrubs and charts.
The New York Jets Offensive Lineman, who holds a PhD in Medicine, is at the forefront, helping to fight the pandemic that hit the world and putting his playing career on hold.
“I was part of the movement of thousands of people who came back and helped me, whether it was a retired nurse or a doctor,” said Dubanay Tardiff. “I think it gave me a different perspective on the medical system. Similarly, everything is usually very hierarchical, but during times of crisis it feels like everyone is working as a team, which is It was very nice. “
A 30-year-old from Montreal, Duvernay-Tardif graduated from McGill University School of Medicine in May 2018, earning a PhD and a Master of Surgery while balancing his flowering football career.He was The first NFL player to opt out of last season Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was not easy to determine.
Duvernay-Tardif was out of the Super Bowl with Kansas City Chiefs in his sixth NFL season when world events attracted him. For years, his life was to block defenders, protect quarterbacks, and plow lanes for running backs.
But he wanted to do more.
Duvernay-Tardif didn’t have a practice license yet, so instead he worked orderly in his home care facility. He helped feed the patients, changed them, gave them medicine, and provided a friendly face to some who lived their last days.
“The big impact is certain,” he said of how the experience affected him. “I think my view has changed not only as a future doctor but also as a soccer player … I know I’ll be in the medical community for the next 40 years, but last year there were some special situations. ..
“And I felt that the best thing for me was to be at the forefront and support every possible ability.”
Throughout the long and emotional day and night, football remained behind Duvernayer Diff’s heart. He knew he would only return to the field after completing his duties during a pandemic.
“When I settled it, I made a kind of promise that I was going back,” he said. “For me, it wasn’t money or heritage. It was really about playing. And it’s a kind of personal challenge I set up for myself.”
The gym in Montreal was closed for several months, so during the winter he built a temporary training station on the balcony and the Chiefs ran another Super Bowl without him.
In March, he quit his job in a long-term care facility and sought to return to the NFL.
He returned to Chiefs in the spring and was warmly welcomed by his teammates. The fact that Kansas City drafted Trey Smith in the sixth round. Duvernay-Tardif broke his hand at the training camp and was absent for a few weeks, and Smith moved to his first job at Uemon.
Duvernay-Tardif was inactive in the first seven games of the Chiefs, then active, but did not play in the eighth week.Looking for opportunities elsewhere, he Abandoned his non-trade clause and distributed to Jets For the tight end Daniel Brown on November 2nd.
He made his debut in New York 12 days later and played three snaps in a special team with Buffalo. And Dubanay Tardiff, who played against Miami last Sunday, started with a right guard instead of Greg Van Roten.
“I was really happy to be back there,” said Duvernay-Tardif. “That’s why I came to New York and decided to play and step on the field. It’s amazing. It’s a blessing.”
It didn’t take long to get rid of the rust for a guy who hadn’t played since the Super Bowl in February 2020.
“I thought he did a good job,” said Robert Surrey. “Obviously, there’s always a play he wants to get back, but at least in the game, he was very excited to get another opp and another crack for two years without playing football. I hope he gets better this week. “
Duvernay-Tardif is taking a short-term intensive course of Jets schemes and terminology, immediately in love with his new teammates.
“A man is a doctor, a man, it’s crazy, a companion,” said Morgan Moses on the right tackle with a laugh. “I asked him,’Hey, can you give me an IV?’. I’m just kidding. Where are you going to the camp when we’re all dying here? Were you there?
“No, but it’s great that he’s here. I think he’s a great person. Obviously, it was amazing that he went outdoors.”
Joking aside, Duvernay-Tardif admitted that some teammates asked him about his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a hot topic in the NFL and society. This week, Jets quarterback Mike White and unvaccinated Joe Flacco are at the forefront. It was added to the COVID-19 list.
“As a medical professional, I feel responsible for providing the best possible information. It’s a personal decision, but of course, if you ask me, everyone should be vaccinated. , I tell you the facts and try to stay objective. “
He has already made a memorable mark on the football field — and has just begun to do so.
“Soccer is a great adventure, but for me it’s also a way to build a platform for promoting bigger messages, which is what you believe,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “And for me, it’s public health, like trying to do primary prevention with children.
“So I hope that what I do will follow me and become part of my heritage, because I want to use it to make a bigger impact.”
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