Sacrifice Play

Wake Forest baseball coach donates kidney to player

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) When Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter told his players that his team was about family and sacrifice, he wasn't kidding. This last week, Walter donated a kidney to recently-recruited outfielder Kevin Jordan.

As Jordan's high school career drew to a close, his health went into a speedy decline. Doctor's diagnosed the 18-year-old left-handed slugger with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, lungs, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. When vasculitis affects the kidneys, it can cause blood and protein to leak into the urine and cause kidney failure.

After his diagnosis, Jordan began dialysis three times a week. Immediately before beginning classes, his doctors told him that he needed a new kidney as soon as possible. Until this past week, Jordan was attending his baseball team's workouts, studying for his classes, and spending at least 8 hours per day on dialysis.

Jordan's disease came on quickly and a kidney transplant was urgent. When none of his family members were a match, Coach Walter decided to make the sacrifice.

When Kevin Jordan received a scholarship and signed on with Wake Forest, he knew that Walter would be a great coach. But he never thought that the decision to play for Walter would save his life.

Now Jordan is likely to live a normal life that permits him to continue with baseball. In fact, the doctors say that he can be back on the diamond in about eight weeks.

Without Walter's kidney, Jordan most likely would have spent years sitting on a donation waiting list and spending hours a day on dialysis.

"Fortunately, Coach Walter was able to save the life of his player through the brave and altruistic gift of living kidney donation," said Michelle Segovia, Senior Community Relations Coordinator at Texas Organ Sharing Alliance. "For most of the 110,000 men, women and children who need a life-saving transplant, they must wait for a deceased donor organ. 18 die each day because there are not enough organ donors. You have the power to save up to eight lives! Please register your intentions for deceased organ donation on your state registry at www.donatelife.net."

Fewer than 20,000 kidney transplants are performed each year at an average cost of $259,000 per transplant. In the meantime, almost 84,000 patients are awaiting transplants. In 2007, nearly 88,000 patients died from end-stage renal disease.

Luckily for Jordan, his coach was able to take him off that list and to breathe new life into a talented athlete. Now Jordan can continue playing ball, probably ending up in the big leagues.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 11, 2011
Last Updated:
February 14, 2011