Canadian doctor is first player to opt out of NFL season

Jul 25 2020, 5:22 pm

Canadian doctor and NFL lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has become the first player to opt out of the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic.

The multi-talented Kansas City Chiefs player said in a statement Friday evening he won’t be playing this season because he can’t risk contributing to coronavirus spread.

“Being at 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,” he said on Instagram.

“I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I’ll do it caring for patients.”


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Duvernay-Tardif characterized the decision as one of the most difficult in his life, and added he was confident in the measures the NFL and his team are taking to keep players coronavirus-free when play resumes.

The doctor from Quebec graduated from McGill’s medical school two years ago while still an active NFL player. He has is MD but isn’t yet licensed to practice. However, he’s been helping out at a long-term care home in Montreal during the pandemic, the city largely considered the epicentre of Canada’s coronavirus outbreak.


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