World of Sport

Baseball coach donates kidney to star player

World of Sport

View photo


In North Carolina, a 19-year old
baseball player, Kevin Jordan, received a necessary kidney transplant not from
one of his relatives, but from a man named Tom Walter, his Wake Forest
University baseball coach.

After learning of the plight of Jordan, Walter was tested in December after his
player's mother and brother were found to not be matches.

"We couldn't believe what he
had endured," Walter said. "I made the decision immediately that if I
could help, I would."

Walter learned that he was a blood match for his player, and subsequently made
the announcement to the rest of his team.

"The guys have been
great," he said, "they've been unbelievable. We have a classy bunch of kids here. I didn't expect anybody to have
any issues with this. 

"They've been great with Kevin. And Kevin's been
great with them."

Jordan's ailment began when he could not properly recover from flu-like
symptoms last winter. 

Doctors from Emory University Hospital found
Jordan's kidneys to be functioning at just 15 to 20 per cent capacity and
diagnosed him with ANCA vasculitis, a type of swelling caused by antibodies
attacking his body tissue.

A 19th-round draft pick of the MLB's New York Yankees, Jordan began dialysis
three times a week at first, but changed to daily dialysis as doctors noticed
that his condition had worsened.

As he completed his first semester at Wake Forest, doctors told Jordan he
needed a kidney transplant as soon as possible, but Jordan stood strong in the
face of his troubles.

"I didn't really think about
(dialysis) shortening my life, but the whole time I was thinking, 'something is
going to happen and I'll get better'."

Because of Walter's altruistic intervention, Jordan was spared placing his name
on the kidney donation list, one that sometimes forces the individual to wait between
three to five years to receive the organ.

"All along, it's been about trying to do the right thing," said
Walter. "This whole process has never been about getting Kevin back on the
field. This has been about Kevin having a chance at a normal life."

Doctors said that both Walter and Jordan are expected to make a full recovery
and that Jordan should be able to swing a baseball bat again in eight weeks.

"It's a little sore, but I can't complain about any of this," said

"As soon as my body agrees with me and I'm allowed to start
playing, I'll start playing."

View Comments