Laken Tomlinson's inspiring reason for going into pre-med at Duke

Friday May 1st, 2015

Former Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson was drafted in the first-round by the Detroit Lions on Thursday, but that's only small potatoes compared to what Tomlinson said his goal in life is.

On a night that was about his accomplishments on the football field, it was Tomlinson's comments on what he wants to do off the field that stole the show.

As a 10-year-old, Tomlinson moved to Chicago from Jamaica. He eventually ended up at Duke, where he became an AP All-American. He was also a four-time Academic All-ACC pick while doing pre-med as a psychology and evolutionary anthropology double major.

BECHT: Laken Tomlinson takes long road from Jamaica to All-America

"I chose medicine because my grandpa passed away my sophomore year in high school," Tomlinson told ESPN after he was drafted. "He was on vacation in Jamaica and the hospital couldn't help him when he went there and was sick. That angered me and I wanted to change that. My goal in life is to one day go back to Jamaica and change the health care system there and improve it."'s Colin Becht profiled Tomlinson last year, and Tomlinson told him he spent last summer shadowing a neurosurgeon at Duke University Hospital. It sounds like he's well on his way to his goal, though it might have to take a backseat for a bit as he heads off to the Lions.

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"This journey has just been unbelievable," Tomlinson said after being drafted. "Making it all the way from Jamaica to this very moment, I couldn't imagine it. So I'm so happy and so blessed to be here."

- Molly Geary

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