A former Major League Baseball player who helped lead his team to the 2011 World Series is about to embark on a new professional endeavor.
Mark Hamilton, who was a fill-in first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2010 to 2011, will graduate from medical school a month early, according to The Associated Press. The 35-year-old father of two will begin his residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in June.
Though Hamilton ultimately plans to enter the field of interventional radiology, his first-year duties are expected to include managing patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
In an interview published Wednesday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hamilton suggested that embarking on a career in medicine amid a global pandemic will require the same stamina that drove him to succeed as a professional athlete.
“Am I scared? Yes, but appropriately so,” he said. “I’m scared for what this means for everybody. When the consequences are this significant, as significant as they can be, you have to rely on your preparation.”
“In a big game, there is the fear, the anxiety, the apprehension to perform,” he added. “But people who succeed channel that into focus. You do what you’re supposed to do.”
Though Hamilton later signed minor league contracts with the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves, he left professional baseball in 2014 to resume his academic career at Tulane University, where he studied neuroscience.
His decision to pursue medicine runs in the family, too, as his father, Stanley Hamilton, was the longtime head of pathology and laboratory medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The elder Hamilton now holds the same position at the City of Hope Center near Los Angeles.
As it turns out, Hamilton isn’t the only former professional athlete who is now at work helping to fight the coronavirus.
Former NFL player Myron Rolle, who left the Tennessee Titans in 2013, is now a a third-year neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. He recently volunteered for a surge clinic within the hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Just like in football, if you’re called to do something different that you weren’t expecting, you adjust,” Rolle told The Tennessean. “You adapt. They’re showing us a new formation that we didn’t see on tape? You’ve got to hunker down and get the job done.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article circulated with a photograph that misidentified Pete Kozma as Hamilton. It has been replaced.
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