Jordan 'thankful' for coach's kidney
Wake Forest baseball player Kevin Jordan could barely find the words Wednesday to describe his gratitude toward Coach Tom Walter, who redefined the coach-player relationship Monday when he donated his kidney to the young student-athlete, The Raleigh News & Observer reported.
Walter and Jordan spoke to reporters at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta two days after doctors removed the coach's kidney and gave Jordan a brighter future.
"I'm just really thankful. I don't think I have the words for it in my vocabulary," Jordan said. "Thankful is as good as it gets."
The 42-year-old coach volunteered to be a donor after none of Jordan's family members was found to have a matching kidney. Doctors reiterated Wednesday how fortunate Jordan was in finding Walter as a donor match, saying patients typically wait up to three years for a kidney donor.
"Most of the anxiety came because it was a waiting game," Walter said last week. "I had made up my mind it was something I wanted to do. My biggest fear was I wouldn't be able to do it. I would be disappointed."
"It's something you can't imagine," Keith Jordan, Kevin's father, said of the coach's decision.
Jordan, 19, was a hot prospect out of Northside High in Columbus, Ga., and skilled enough for the Yankees to draft him in the 19th round last year. He already had signed with Wake Forest in November 2009, but by the time he arrived on the Winston-Salem, N.C., campus last August, his kidney function had been reduced to just 8 percent and he was told by doctors that he would need a transplant.
Jordan had been diagnosed with ANCA vasculitis, a condition caused by abnormal autoantibodies that attack cells and tissues. By last summer his kidneys were failing, so Jordan had to take 35 pills a day and undergo dialysis three times a week.
Those days now appear to be over. Doctors said Wednesday they foresee an excellent long-term prognosis, with Jordan returning home as early as Friday to continue his recuperation.
"I feel terrific. It gets better every hour," Jordan said.
Coach Walter likely will be released Thursday and plans to attend the Demon Deacons' practice on Friday.
"[Walter] is going to be there for the opening day [Feb. 18]," Dr. Tom Newell said. "Within a month or so, he will be back to doing what he did before. A year from now or 20 or 40 years from now he's not going to feel any different than he would otherwise."
Doctors believe Jordan will be able to resume baseball activities in approximately eight weeks. He plans to enroll in classes over the summer.