Myron Rolle, former NFL safety, on front lines of coronavirus fight as Boston neurosurgery resident

Myron Rolle is a modern Renaissance man.

He’s a Rhodes Scholar, a former Tennessee Titans safety who went to Florida State before being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft, and these days he’s on the coronavirus frontlines as a third-year neurosurgery resident in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I went down to the emergency department, and as I was walking through the emergency department I was seeing so many individuals with respiratory distress and respiratory compromise, and the numbers are staggering,” Rolle told ESPN. “Our neurosurgical floor has been transformed into a floor just full of COVID-19 patients.”

The 33-year-old added: “It is hectic, that’s for sure.”

It’s all hands on deck, and he said his department’s operating rooms may be turned into intensive care units as medical staffs have to ad-lib during the pandemic.

The number of people in Massachusetts who have died from COVID-19 has risen to 56 since the start of the outbreak, an increase of eight since Sunday.

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Public health officials said the number of residents who have so far tested positive for the disease stands at more than 5,700.

Nearly 42,800 have been tested, and more than 450 have been hospitalized.

Massachusetts has also created an online portal to let companies and individuals donate or sell surgical masks, goggles, sanitizing wipes, protective gowns and gloves to the state.

Rolle credits his football history with shaping his present time in medicine.

“Football has never left me,” Rolle said. “I still wake up in the morning and think of the operating room like a game, like it’s showtime, let’s perform. I gotta do what I gotta do because people are counting on us right now. This is our time to help very sick people. So that motivation continues to drive me every single day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.