Across the country, kids look up to their favorite football players as heroes. One college football player decided to step up as a different type of hero.
"With the COVID situation, I wanted to be a part of, just like helping out with everyone," Middlebury College junior linebacker Nate Stewart said.
Stewart wanted to be a part of the solution when he was sent home from campus due to COVID-19 by becoming an EMT.
"It was definitely nerve-wracking. They really didn't teach us about working in a pandemic. A lot of that stuff was taught on the fly," Stewart said.
Being fearless on the gridiron does not necessarily relate to going toe-to-toe with an invisible killer.
"I was scared. We did have strict protocol, that every time you had a suspected COVID call or it was unsure, you were to go full PPE, your gown, your gloves, your mask, your eye protection," Stewart said.
Although it was scary, the years of listening to — and calling — audibles prepared him for much more important adjustments.
"I found that especially prevalent to my EMT experience because we were put in a lot of situations where it was difficult. You had to kind of make a decision on the fly, even if that wasn't necessarily written down in protocol. A lot of hospitals have different procedures especially now with COVID," Stewart said.
Being a first responder certainly comes first, but his time in the back of an ambulance has also helped his mentality as he looks to chase down opposing ball carriers.
"It's made me stronger, a little more mentally aware, being able to work in more difficult situations, and work past the pain of being stuck," Stewart said.
Stewart is anything but stuck. If anything, he's moving us all forward.