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A DBR Reader And Poster Gets The Surprise Of A Lifetime

“Hi Roger...”

NFL: NFL Draft
Apr 23, 2020; In this still image from video provided by the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks from his home in Bronxville, N.Y., during the 2020 NFL football draft. 
Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

This’ll lift your spirits.

One of our long-time readers, Dr. Hazim El-Haddad, who goes by the name DukeDevil on our boards, is an interventional cardiologist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He’s also a huge Duke fan (surprise) and is a big-time Ravens fan as well.

Like so many medical professionals, he’s put himself on the line with the pandemic and has gone far above and beyond what most people could do. Someday we’ll look back on all of this and wonder just how they did it.

Anyway, he had a very interesting experience this week. We’ll let him tell his own story from here:

“I initially applied to be part of the Raven’s’ “inner circle” of fans who were going to be cheering on the team during the draft. Basically I sent in a short 1 minute video where I discussed being a fan and what the Ravens meant to me, to Baltimore, and how it allows me to connect with a lot of my patients and discuss something other than this pandemic. I wear Ravens gear all the time at work (also Duke stuff but it doesn’t go over as well here in Maryland).

“Long story short, the Raven’s sent the video to Goodell, who said he was so touched by it that he reached out to me. I was sent an email as a heads up that i was going to get a call in 30 minutes from “someone” but I had my hands full and didn’t even see it till after the call, so I was completely taken by surprise. I had paged another doc so the moment my phone rang I answered without looking at who was calling (it was NFLDRAFT2020@icloud or something) and was confused as to why I was being FaceTimed. I actually didn’t have great reception so initially I didn’t hear him introduce himself and couldn’t see him clearly, and I thought maybe a patient had somehow dialed me directly. I was was finally actually about to hang up because I was waiting on that other call when the picture finally cleared up and and he reintroduced himself, and I was completely shocked. I normally curse like a sailor but realized I should probably tone it down, so I ended up saying “holy cow” a lot more then I ever have in my life.

“I really don’t even feel deserving. I love doing what I do and feel honored to treat people and this whole pandemic has just been a new wrinkle and problem to try and manage in order to help people get better. I wish I could list all the ICU and ER docs, nurses, PAs techs, medical assistants etc who all have been putting themselves at risk constantly to help get everyone through this. I really hope we get a vaccine soon, not because I’m because I worry about next season’s football and basketball but because I can’t imagine the toll this will take if it were to drag on for several more months or even to next year. This is already a defining event in many of our lives, and i just hope it’s something we can all look back on down the road as a shared experience where our distancing now gives us all something in common down the road.”

Isn’t that great? It’s so nice to see Goodell reaching out to someone who has put himself on the line during these bleak times. We couldn’t be prouder to be associated with Hazim even in such a small way.

We’d like to urge Duke fans, and the basketball office if anyone can help there, to do something similar for Hazim: we need to get him in Cameron for a really good one, preferably the UNC game. Let’s make it happen!

As he points out, he and so many others have put their lives on the line doing what they were born to do. One of the silver linings of this crisis is being reminded that people can rise to an occasion and do things they never knew they could. Hazim is only one example of this, as he humbly points out, but he’s a pretty damn good one. We’ve never said this before but we hope you’ll join us in this: Go Ravens!