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Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif helped an elderly resident who had tested positive for COVID-19 transfer to the COVID floor at a long-term-care facility in Canada this week as his teammates prepared for an AFC divisional round game with the Cleveland Browns.
It is what Duvernay-Tardif has done all season after he was the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 schedule. He’s worked since April on the front lines of the pandemic and sees the end near.
Duvernay-Tardif urges ‘individual sacrifice’
But it will take commitment to strict government protocols.
“It’s going to take a few months before we get a critical number of people vaccinated to actually see a difference,” Duvernay-Tardif told the Toronto Star. “This is the last little bit of individual sacrifice we’ve got to make for the greater good of the community, and it’s nonsense when I see [anti-mask] protests.
“We’re at the finish line. We’ve got to stick together more than ever.”
Duvernay-Tardif, one of Yahoo Sports’ Transcendent 12 athletes for 2020, was scheduled to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, per the Star. Health officials say herd immunity will happen with 75 to 80 percent of the population vaccinated. There is a lot more to go to get there.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.
Duvernay-Tardif: Front-line workers display ‘true heroics’
Duvernay-Tardif is the first active NFL player to graduate from medical school and returned to his home in Montreal to fight the pandemic. He hadn’t done a residency yet and didn’t have a license to practice, so he began work as an orderly.
He called his co-workers who have worked at the part-time care facility for years the real heroes. Even after given bad news, they came back with a smile to help, he told the Star.
“Those people are so dedicated, it’s crazy,” he said, via the Star. “It’s easy to go train and live and work out when you’re getting paid a ton of money to do it, and there’s thousands of people that are there to say, ‘Good job. You’re doing great. You’re so good.’ But to wake up every morning to go to the long-term-care home and do the work that they do, with the amount of passion and dedication that they have, that’s true heroics. Nobody’s there to cheer them on.”
He told the Canadian Press he thinks he’s given “too much credit” for deciding to work on the front lines and his “definition of a hero has changed this year.”
Will Duvernay-Tardif return to Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes?
The Super Bowl winner does plan to return to the Chiefs next season, he confirmed to multiple outlets this week after saying as much in a video aired by NBC ahead of “Sunday Night Football.”
Chiefs' OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the 2020 season to put his doctorate to use in the fight against Covid-19.
Thanks to @FedEx and others who are transporting vaccines to our communities, Laurent looks forward to getting back on the field next season. pic.twitter.com/rDIpTotQL9
— #DivisionalRound on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 11, 2021
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