Myron Rolle is a 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound former NFL defensive back who is making the rather bold and unheard of transition from pro football to neurosurgery.
Rolle, who graduated from Florida State University with a degree in science and a 3.75 GPA, exhibited a passion for academics that isn’t normally attributed to student athletes. During the 2008 college football season, he earned a Rhodes Scholarship, and eventually skipped his senior season to attend Oxford University.
Rolle’s interest in the field of neurosurgery was sparked by a fifth-grade project teaching students about the brain. Rolle cites Ben Carson among his inspirations; he was given Carson’s book “Gifted Hands” in elementary school and credits it with furthering his interest in the medical field.
“My parents wanted me to have these kind of Black role models that looked like me, were men doing positive things,” Rolle told The Washington Post.
Rolle said he feels committed to both medicine and athletics, and despite the doubts of many people, he remains steadfast in his commitment to both of his dreams.
Myron’s father encouraged him, but said he sometimes felt that his son’s two career paths may be too much to juggle.
“We encouraged all our children,” Whitney Rolle told the Post, “but I knew there’s a point in time when you have to make a decision about which path you want. Frankly, I told him, ‘Myron, you can’t play football and be a doctor.”
However, Rolle remained undeterred, even as he piled up accolades as a football player, was named a top high school prospect by ESPN, and had numerous scholarships offered to him, both as a football prospect and an academic prospect.
Rolle stated that his academic aspirations “absolutely” and “unequivocally” interfered with the progress of his career in the NFL. He was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent a year on their practice squad, but was released before the 2011 season began. He then signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was released before the 2012 season began. Rolle has never played in a game during a professional football season.
Many teams were hesitant to put all their resources and focus into Rolle due to his relentless desire to succeed in the medical field. Some felt that he abandoned his Florida State teammates by not playing his senior year. However, even Rolle’s coaches realized that his passion and drive would allow him to accomplish anything he put his mind to.
“Listen, I can tell you this now,” former Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews told the Post, “if he stays in the field of medicine, and he wants to spend his life as a neurosurgeon, he’ll be one of the best ever. That’s just the kind of person he is.”
Source: AFRO | Janneh Johnson