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Wallace Wade Stadium, home of the Duke University football team. Photo credit: flickr user greerjasona.
Wallace Wade Stadium, home of the Duke University football team. Photo credit: flickr user greerjasona.

NFL First Round Draft Pick Has Med School Ambitions

Date Posted: 05/14/15

Author: admin


Ever felt overwhelmed juggling all of the responsibilities of premed life? Imagine trying to get great grades, shadow, volunteer, take the MCAT, AND be a Division I football player. That's exactly what Laken Tomlinson did at Duke University, where he successfully navigated pre-med life as an offensive guard on the football team. Just a few weeks ago he was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions but he still has ambitions of going to medical school.

Tomlinson's interest in medicine stems from a tragic incident involving his grandfather while growing up. His grandfather had a flare up of stomach ulcers while in Jamaica and passed away before he could be transported to the US. “I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, this can’t be true,’” Tomlinson says. “It really made me a little bit angry.”

Tomlinson studied up on Jamaica's healthcare system and realized the reason his grandpa died there. “That’s pretty much the reason why my grandpa died -- they didn’t have the proper resources there to take care of him,” Tomlinson says. “That angered me even more. That’s kind of when I made the decision I want to be a doctor.”

His medical school dreams are on hold for now as he focuses on football. “I would like to play football for as long as I can, whether that’s five years, 10 years, 15 years,” Tomlinson says. “But I want to set myself up to continue leading my life once my football career is over, so obviously I’m going to keep on maintaining my interest in going to med school until I do go to med school.”

Tomlinson maintains his goal is to return to Jamaica. "My goal in life is to one day go back to Jamaica and change the health care system there and improve it." You can read more about his story here.