By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com
The man put his life on hold, forgoing his starting role on the reigning Super Bowl champions in order to help those who he’d never met. He walked away from the glory of an NFL Sunday for endless hours filled with heartache, all in the hopes of making a difference where he could.
Kansas City Chiefs’ guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an impressive athlete, but the decision that he made around a year ago this time goes beyond his aptitude on the field and demonstrates the character that makes the man we call “LDT” an outstanding human being.
Nobody asked for him to put his football career on hold and to utilize his medical degree in the battle against COVID-19 – he simply just believed that it was the right thing to do – and it’s for that very reason that Duvernay-Tardif was named the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award on Saturday at the ESPYs.
The honor, which is part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, is given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership and care has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.
Duvernay-Tardif certainly fits the bill, as he spent the past year at a long-term care facility in his native Montreal caring for those battling COVID-19.
“Sometimes I was a nurse, sometimes I was an orderly and sometimes I was a resident. I was basically helping where help was needed. It was tough – we lost a lot of patients – and we know that long-term care facilities were pretty badly affected,” Duvernay-Tardif explained during minicamp last month. “I don’t regret my decision. I think I was in the right place at the right moment, and I was able to put my medical training to use.”
Duvernay-Tardif is now back with the Chiefs as they prepare for the 2021 campaign, but his decision – and its impact on those in need – will not soon be forgotten. This award only further solidifies that.