'I Never Thought The Game Would Even Happen'

By Jeremy Peplow - February 03, 2021

Dr. Nainesh Parikh, an interventional radiologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, will join 7,500 other vaccinated frontline health care workers at this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa. He shared his thoughts about the opportunity to attend the big game and being recognized for his continued extraordinary service throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Nainesh Parikh
Dr. Nainesh Parikh

When you were watching the Super Bowl last year, did it ever cross your mind you could be in the stands the following year?
Well, you know it's funny. A year ago, when this all started, I didn't even think we'd have the Super Bowl here in Tampa, never mind see the Bucs in it. And I know people give the NFL a tough time about a lot of things, especially chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), but I think the NFL has done a great job with COVID rules and regulations. But we're going to have a Super Bowl and the NFL has made it possible for vaccinated healthcare workers like myself to attend. I'm so happy! It's almost like a dream come true.

The NFL is giving basically a third of all game tickets to health care workers, what does it mean to you to be recognized?
Physicians, nurses, people who work at the hospital, support staff, all of the above, should be honored. COVID has created a significant level of burnout among health care workers. It means the world. I hate to say it this way, but, honestly, it's about time.

We're trying to do whatever we can for our patients not only here at Moffitt, but at all of our sister hospitals around Tampa. 

What part of the overall game experience are you most looking forward to?
Well, it’s historic right?  Never happened before. Having the Bucs as the home team be in the Super Bowl is amazing. But truth be told, our team here at Moffitt has been stretched thin over the last year. Our people have gotten COVID and have been out, other people have covered, we've treated our fair share of COVID patients and I’m sure other teams around Moffitt feel exactly the same. So, to do something that is historic, to have the opportunity to be a part of history, to witness history... gosh I mean I hope the Bucs win. That would be amazing. But to be able to go the game with the team here and be able to do something outside the hospital leaving behind all the struggles and hassles, I think that’s what we're most looking forward to.

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