Dr. Myron Rolle says it was always in the back of his head to become a neurosurgeon once his NFL playing career was over ... and he credits Ben Carson with planting the seed.
The football defensive back turned brain surgeon joined us on "TMZ Live" Thursday and told us how he made the extremely rare transition from the football field to the medical field.
Myron was always gifted in school, he spent a year abroad studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar after earning a degree as a star player at Florida State, but he says Ben's 1990 book "Gifted Hands" got him thinking about neuroscience.
Understanding careers in the NFL are fleeting -- Myron's lasted about 3 years after being drafted by the Colts -- Rolle says he always had it in his mind to have a plan for after football, and he became a neurosurgeon because he wanted to help save lives.
Myron's still got a connection to football ... telling us his work as a neurosurgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital allows him to operate on football players, and others, with brain injuries from concussions.
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Myron says much of his success is also thanks to a mindset he developed from one of his FSU coaches, where the goal is to break large goals down to smaller tasks and get a little better each day ... and he's got a book coming out about it called "The 2% Way: How a Philosophy of Small Improvements Took Me to Oxford, the NFL, and Neurosurgery."
Myron's got a fascinating story ... and he also told us why Elon Musk's Neuralink has his attention.