February 8, 2011

Bye Bye Kidney, Pee you later.

College sports, especially in the past year, have been particularly sleazy and scandalous. The drama has been totally entertaining, for sure. But between the transfers, the suspensions, the investigations, and the disparate punishments, the NCAA has earned itself some much-deserved criticism. I mean, a father tried to pimp out his son for hundreds of thousands of dollars and nothing happened, while basically half of UNC’s football team was suspended, Enes Kanter was declared ineligible, and A.J. Green got in trouble for selling a jersey. I am not saying that punishment in the UNC/Kanter/Green cases was inappropriate; I am simply confused by the fact that different programs have been held to different standards. And to claim that Cam Newton was oblivious to his father’s scheming is laughable. As far as I am concerned, this whole year has been one long WTF moment for the NCAA. So when something positive happens in college athletics – especially when that something provides such ridiculously warm fuzzies – it should be highlighted. Which brings us to the topic at hand.

Just yesterday, Tom Walter, the baseball coach at Wake Forest University, donated a kidney to Kevin Jordan, a freshman outfielder on his team. A kidney! To some random ass freshman that he doesn't even know yet. We are not talking about a coach sharing fatherly advice or even lending money to a kid. He gave up one of his own organs just so a player could lead a healthy and productive life. That is fucking incredible. Incredible enough to ignore the fact that both men have two first names (which is usually disturbing, let’s be serious). When a coach talks about treating his players “like family,” it is refreshing to know that someone out there really means it.

About a year ago, Kevin Jordan began suffering from flu-like symptoms. After losing 30 pounds in four months, doctors discovered that his kidney was, well, broken. He continued to play high school baseball while starting weekly dialysis treatments. Once Kevin left home for college last fall, his condition worsened and he was advised that a transplant would be needed; however, none of his family members was a match. Out of the blue, Coach Walter offered to undergo compatibility testing. He was approved as a match on January 28, 2011. Then, on February 7th, he and Kevin went for surgery at Emory University Hospital. Everything was successful and both are recovering well.

Kevin, who was drafted by the Yankees last year (kidney issue and all), hopes to return to Wake Forest by this summer. Coach Walter, the superhero that he is, will be back with his team for their season-opener on February 18th. I genuinely wish them all the luck in the world.


  1. This is pretty impressive. But if this guy REALLY wants to impress me ... I'd like to see him do it THREE times. Now THAT would be something! Seriously though - awesome story.

  2. I'm mostly impressed by how much cutesy kidney clip art exists in the world.

    But also, this story made me cry yesterday. And now seeing my favorite Care Bear giving me an imaginary hug while reading this is making me cry all over again.