Lions’ Laken Tomlinson Balances Football with Passion for the Medical Field

Detroit Lions Offensive Lineman Laken Tomlinson has demonstrated the ability to balance athleticism, higher education and a healthier lifestyle. Tomlinson, who plans to be a neurosurgeon after his football career, has aspired to serve in the healthcare industry since he was a kid. Growing up in Jamaica, Tomlinson’s aspirations never competed with time for physical activities and interest in athletics. He always enjoyed playing sports and staying active.

“I ran around outside every day, playing soccer or cricket with my older brother and cousins,” said Tomlinson.

He also took his education very seriously. In fact, he commuted 90 minutes each day to and from school during his high school career in order to receive a quality education. He went on to graduate from Duke University with bachelor’s degrees in evolutionary anthropology and psychology. Still, he managed to excel on the football field as well.

“When I was attending college, it was extremely difficult,” said Tomlinson, who admits he didn’t have a lot of free time. “Proper time management helped me succeed in both areas.”

11/15/15 at Green Bay Packers

Tomlinson is focused on football for now, but he spends some of his off- time shadowing doctors to help prepare for a career in the medical field after his retirement from the NFL. He uses free time to his advantage and practices time management.

IMG_6914Keeping a balanced and healthy lifestyle is critical for any athlete, especially at the professional level. Tomlinson says he eats a lot of fish and vegetables, and consumes minimal red meat and bread. To stay active during the off-season, he goes to his alma mater to train with the staff at Duke.

The next generation of professional athletes can look to Tomlinson’s success as proof that balancing academics, physical activity, and extra-curricular activities can be difficult but achievable. He serves as a role model for kids to stay active and encourgages them to pursue their dreams. While he’s determined to help his team win a championship, he shares the same ambition to serve in the medical field as a neurosurgeon later in life.

“I want to improve the healthcare system in Jamaica. I believe it is the best way to directly help people in need and make a difference.”

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Photo Credit: Detroit Lions (feature, inset) and A Healthier Michigan

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