NFL lineman will work in healthcare instead of playing in 2020

He is the first player in the NFL to opt out of the new season. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is…
NFL lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

He is the first player in the NFL to opt out of the new season.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the starting right guard of the Kansas City Chiefs. But the native of Quebec, Canada, also holds a McGill medical degree. So, he has been spending his football off-season working towards becoming a doctor.

Now, instead of playing football, he will continue this goal.

Duvernay-Tardif’s announcement comes after “the NFL and its players association agreed earlier Friday to an opt-out clause for the upcoming season.” Players who use the clause on a voluntary basis “will reportedly receive a $150,000 US stipend rather than their contractual salary” and “those with medical opt outs will receive $350,000.”

Recently, Duvernay-Tardif has been working as an orderly. In Quebec, the government said that long-term care homes needed more orderlies in the wake of COVID-19. Duvernay-Tardif’s experiences in this position and in this time—on the frontlines of the fight against the virus—gave him “a different perspective” on the current situation:

Being on the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system. I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

He wrote in his Twitter post that “the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to significant health and safety protocols” and that he is sure his team has strong strategies in place to minimize the risks of playing. Still, he says, “some risks will remain.”

The lineman’s agent and friend, Sasha Ghavami, said that the decision to opt out “was one of the toughest decisions he had to make in his life.” Ghavami’s comments suggested that if he had to take risks, he would want them to be important ones:

He preferred not to put himself in that position this season. If he was to be put in a position to take risks, it would be treating patients.

Sasha Ghavami

Article source: CBC

Featured image source: Brynn Anderson/AP

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