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For Chiefs’ RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Nursing Runs in the Family

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Updated February 13, 2024
Edited by
    Clyde Edwards-Helaire has a Super Bowl ring. But thanks to his mom’s inspiration, the running back is enrolling in nursing school.
    Clyde Edwards-Helaire running the ball against the Buffalo BillsCredit: TNS
    • Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been to the playoffs every year for four NFL seasons.
    • Off the field, Edwards-Helaire is in nursing school.
    • A family connection inspired the running back to pursue a nursing career.

    “I’m back in school for nursing…,” Clyde Edwards-Helaire announced in a Kansas City Chiefs TikTok, “…So I can handle any medical emergencies.”

    The son of a nurse, Edwards-Helaire is best known for his career in football. The former Louisiana State University (LSU) running back currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. But he’s planning for a future in healthcare.

    Edwards-Helaire told reporters in Jan. 2024, “Football is football, but I know for my profession what I want to do.”

    @chiefs It’s Pop’s “WHAT THE HELL” for us 😂😂😂 #qotd#babysitter#chiefs♬ original sound – Chiefs

    Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s NFL Record

    The Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And in his NFL debut, the running back scored his first NFL touchdown.

    At the end of his rookie year, Edwards-Helaire had an impressive record of 803 rushing yards and 297 receiving yards. His teammates voted him the best rookie in 2020.

    Since then, the running back has helped the Chiefs reach the playoffs every year, taking home the Super Bowl at the end of the 2022 season. Coming off the injury list for the game, Edwards-Helaire switched things up in practice, subbing in as a wide receiver. Ultimately, he didn’t play in the game.

    “I did everything that I need to do in order for us to win that game,” Edwards-Helaire told USA Today Sports. “That’s just what it was. They called my number and I was out there.”

    After this season ends, Edwards-Helaire will be a free agent in 2024.

    Edwards-Helaire’s Reason for Pursuing Nursing

    By pursuing nursing, Edwards-Helaire is following in his mother’s footsteps. After serving in the Army, Tongelia Helaire went to nursing school.

    “I was about to graduate from nursing school when I found out I was pregnant,” Helaire told the Advocate in 2019. “At first, I was taken aback, but I was so excited when I found out she was a girl.”

    Edwards-Helaire’s sister Maddee was born with muscular dystrophy. Doctors gave her just six months to live. But under Helaire’s care, Maddee thrived. At five years old, Maddee no longer needed the feeding tube that had kept her alive. She had also learned to walk and talk.

    “Doctors said none of that would ever happen,” Helaire recalled. “And when they did, I tapped into my strength to find my daughter’s.”

    Maddee, who is now 16, is a local ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

    The Chiefs running back points to his mother and sister as his inspiration for attending nursing school.

    As Edwards-Helaire explained, “Football is just one of those things that’s kind of getting me in this position, but using my brain and me knowing what I can do on the back end, helping people, it’s close to my heart.”

    Making Plays On and Off the Field

    Clyde Edwards-Helaire considered pursuing nursing at LSU, where he played for three seasons before moving on to the NFL. However, scheduling conflicts made it impossible to earn a nursing degree and play football at the same time.

    That changed in 2023.

    “Just felt like I had a little bit more time at the beginning of the season, just wasn’t playing that much, so I was like, ‘Cool, I’m gonna start school,’” Edwards-Helaire said in an interview. “It’s kind of enjoyable because it kind of feels like college.”

    Balancing a career in the NFL with nursing school requires intense focus and a strict schedule. “I’m not doing anything else but leaving work and then going through school stuff,” the running back explained.

    [JoJo O’Conner]. She kind of helping me with the scheduling ordeal and all that’s been a headache.”

    Regardless of Edwards-Helaire’s next steps in the NFL, he has a bright future in nursing. As Edwards-Helaire told reporters, “In the future, if y’all need some shots or IVs or anything, holler at your boy.”