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Canadian Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Set To Be First Doctor To Play In Super Bowl

The Kansas City Chiefs player graduated from McGill in 2018.

UPDATE: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is now officially the first doctor to ever win a Super Bowl game (and the ninth Canadian to play on the winning team in the history of the sport).

Canadians have a compatriot to root for when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who was born in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., will become only the fourth Canadian to start in the biggest game in professional football, not counting kickers and punters, when he takes to the field for the Chiefs.

But Duvernay-Tardif is notable for another reason: he’ll be the first medical doctor to play in the Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif points to the stands in the third quarter of the AFC Championship game on Jan. 19, 2020.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif points to the stands in the third quarter of the AFC Championship game on Jan. 19, 2020.

That’s right, somehow he’s not only a professional football player, he’s also a doctor. Talk about multi-tasking.

Here are seven fun facts about this Canadian superstar you can whip out to impress everyone at your Super Bowl party.

1. He’s in elite Canadian company

Duvernay-Tardif will become just the 16th Canadian-born player to play in the Super Bowl. Outside of kickers and punters, only four Canadian players were starters.

He’s the 10th player from a Canadian university to be drafted into the NFL and only the second player from Montreal’s McGill University. The last one was defensive tackle Randy Chevrier, who was drafted in the seventh round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2001.

Unlike the NHL, where top-tier teams are often overwhelmingly Canadian, it’s hard to find Canucks in professional American football. At the start of the 2019 season, there were 10 Canadians across the entire league. Fellow Canadian and Duvernay-Tardif’s backup Ryan Hunter, from North Bay, Ont., will also be donning a Chiefs jersey on Sunday, potentially making him the 17th to participate if he takes the field.

2. He’s the first active NFL player to also be a medical doctor

Worried that you don’t have time to follow your dreams? Well, Duvernay-Tardif actually completed his medical studies while playing in the NFL.

He was drafted by the Chiefs in 2014, while in his third year at McGill. For the next four years, the team allowed him to finish his clinical rotations in the off-season and focus on his specialization in emergency medicine. He graduated in 2018.

“When I stepped on that stage at McGill University and got my MD last year, it was probably the best moment of my life — after the one I’m going to live (Sunday),” Duvernay-Tardif told CNN this week.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes praised Duvernay-Tardif’s dual identities during Super Bowl interviews this week.

“He plays hard, he plays tough, and that’s a great part of our team. The accomplishments he’s had on and off the field (are) amazing,” said Mahomes. “To be a doctor and a football player and knowing how taxing those careers are, it shows the work ethic and dedication he’s had in his life. And he’s a great dude to hang around with.”

After graduating, he actually petitioned the league to let him put “M.D.” after his name on his jersey, because when you’re a doctor you understandably want to tell people about that. The NFL denied his request, crushing the dreams of any fan who wants to wear a “Duvernay-Tardif M.D.” jersey one day.

3. Justin Trudeau’s cheering him on

Asked by reporters about the Super Bowl on Friday, the prime minister said he’s cheering for the Chiefs, because of Duvernay-Tardif.

It doesn’t hurt that the Chiefs wear good ol’ Canadian red and white too.

4. His parents are so proud they made a pizza in his honour

Being the parents of a doctor is one thing. Being the parents of an NFL star is another. But to be the parents of someone who’s both? That’s almost a proud parent overload.

Duvernay-Tardif’s father is the co-owner of Le Pain Dans Les Voiles, a chain of bakery cafes across the Montreal area. The proud parents worked with the bakery to make a special pizza in his honour for Super Bowl Sunday. The square pizza features bacon, red onions, Swiss Cheese, fresh cream and chives.

Of course, they won’t actually be slinging the pizza since they’ll be in Miami cheering on their son.

Reservations at Le Pains Dans Les Voiles for Super Bowl Sunday are full, but you should try making your own version of “Laurent’s favourite salty square” at home! Looks tasty.

5. He’s a francophone

Duvernay-Tardif, whose first language is French, missed the deadline to get into French-speaking medical schools in Quebec because he put the wrong date into his calendar. So he went to McGill, one of the province’s three English-language universities.

He didn’t start playing for the McGill Redmen until late in his freshman season because he was trying to improve his English skills to keep up in class.

6. He reported on the Olympics for CBC

In 2018, Duvernay-Tardif travelled to South Korea as part of CBC’s team reporting on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“I wanted to use my sport and medicine perspective to explore how athletes optimize their performances. Every story would have a scientific angle: nutrition, hydration, sports science, mental preparation,” he wrote in, explaining how he pitched it to the CBC.

Duvernay-Tardif interviewed Canadian athletes everywhere from the locker room to the chairlift.

7. And because of course, he’s also a knight

Seriously. In 2019, Duvernay-Tardif was named a Knight of the Order of Quebec.

Knight, doctor, NFL star — what’s next, astronaut?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that 22 Canadian-born players have ever been in the Super Bowl. This actually included players born outside of Canada but raised in the country. The actual number of Canadian-born players prior to Sunday’s game is 15.

WATCH: The Super Bowl history of the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

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