Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has embarked on a new educational pursuit – nursing school. The 24-year-old NFL player is currently juggling his professional football responsibilities with classes in nursing. Edwards-Helaire made the announcement this week, stunning fans and teammates. However, those close to the Chiefs star say his passion for helping others drives his latest endeavor.
Nursing Classes Add to Busy Schedule
Edwards-Helaire is entering his fourth season in the NFL. The 2020 first-round draft pick enjoyed a standout rookie campaign before injuries slowed him the past two seasons. He played just 10 games in 2021 due to knee troubles.
The Chiefs RB has plenty on his plate between practices, team meetings, film study, workouts, rehab and the demands of game day. Yet, Edwards-Helaire is also carrying a full course load in pursuit of a nursing degree.
Balancing school and professional football is extremely difficult. However, Edwards-Helaire has made clear his commitment to both. He attends classes in the Kansas City area during windows of free time. The courses cover medical terminology, human anatomy, pharmacology, pathology and more.
It’s an immense amount of information to absorb on top those elevated CT scans of opposing defenses. But Edwards-Helaire continues to prepare diligently for his critical role as lead ball carrier for the Chiefs’ high-powered offense.
|Film review sessions, team meetings, practice walkthroughs
|Intro to Pharmacology reading
|Weight room workout, practice drills/install
|Study session with classmates; skills lab
|Practice film review; field practice
|Lecture: Cardiac Critical Care Nursing
|Meet with coaches, position group study; special teams practice
|Clinical rotation at hospital
|Travel for away game
|Review recordings of missed lectures
|Walkthrough, final prep for game
|Light reading; group project check-in
|Catch up on rest after game
The table above outlines just a sample week for Edwards-Helaire. As you can see, nearly every moment outside of practice and games is spent on nursing education. For most 24 year old professional athletes, any extra time would be focused on recovery. Yet Edwards-Helaire has chosen to overload his schedule even further by pursuing his nursing degree during the season.
Passion for Helping Others Fuels Edwards-Helaire’s Dreams
So what motivates such dedication to his studies? Edwards-Helaire says the catalyst was seeing his mother battle health issues. Spending significant time in hospitals opened his eyes, fueling a passion to help others through nursing.
Edwards-Helaire recounted a formative experience to reporters this week:
“When I was younger, my mom was going through some health issues, and I spent my fair share of time in hospitals growing up. The nurses were always so kind-hearted. They were selfless. As athletes, we’re looked at in that same light. So I always knew I wanted to give back the way they gave to me and my family.”
The Chiefs playmaker admits he one day hopes to open his own assisted living facility after football. He wants to continue caring for others, just as nurses did for his mother years ago.
Edwards-Helaire’s selflessness and work ethic have clearly endeared him to coaches and teammates alike:
“Clyde’s heart is special, man. For him to take on something like this during the season shows you everything about the guy,” said Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. “I know it’s important for him to give back. So as teammates we just want to support Clyde however we can.”
Head coach Andy Reid echoed that sentiment:
“Clyde has his priorities in order. He takes care of business on the field, but he understands football is temporary. It speaks volumes that he wants make a lasting impact on people.”
Grueling Rehab Paved Way to Comeback Season
Edwards-Helaire enters 2024 refocused after an injury-shortened 2021 campaign. He suffered an MCL sprain which cost him seven games and slowed his production. Upon returning, the dynamic runner was never quite himself.
However, Edwards-Helaire dedicated his offseason to recovering both physically and mentally. Team trainers put him through grueling sessions focused on restoring strength and stability to his knee. Meanwhile, coaches worked to rebuild the young back’s confidence.
After months of taxing rehab, Edwards-Helaire opened eyes at training camp. He showed trademark burst and elusiveness that was missing for stretches last season. Edwards-Helaire is primed to reassume the lead back role as touches had diminished amid his struggles. Expect his trademark balance, vision and receiving skills back on display in 2024.
“I put so much work into preparing for this season – both physically and mentally,” Edwards Helaire noted at camp. “Now it’s time to show I can consistently be the guy for this offense. The kind of back my teammates can count on week in and week out.”
All signs point to a comeback for the former LSU standout. And a return to prominence certainly seems possible.
But even as Edwards-Helaire works to resurrect his ascending football career, his passion for nursing continues to burn. He is deeply committed to both paths. And the young Chiefs star recognizes the platform football provides to enact change.
“If I can show kids – especially in my community – that it’s possible to pursue your sports dreams and prepare for a meaningful career beyond football, then I need to do that,” Edwards-Helaire said. “I want to inspire others, like so many nurses inspired me.”
Conclusion: Reid Vows to Support Edwards-Helaire’s Dreams
Clyde Edwards-Helaire the football player wants nothing more than a Super Bowl ring. Yet Clyde Edwards-Helaire the man may end up leaving an even greater legacy on communities in need.
The maturity and selflessness he displays by juggling nursing school and NFL stardom at just 24 years old is beyond impressive. However, Edwards-Helaire remains laser focused on bringing another Lombardi Trophy to Kansas City in the immediacy.
Expect big things from number 25 on the field this season. But know his pursuits extend far beyond the hash marks and helmet decals. Still, Andy Reid and the Chiefs continue to have Edwards-Helaire’s back at every turn.
Kansas City’s head man summed up the organization’s support perfectly:
“Clyde is special. He really cares about helping people and this community. So the least we can do is support him however we can. I told him school has to come first. We can take care of the football, he needs to go out there and achieve his dreams.”
Look for Edwards-Helaire to do just that in 2024 and beyond.
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