People Are Awesome: This Baseball Coach Saved His Player's Life with a Kidney Donation

Tom Walter, the coach of Wake Forest University's baseball team, gave his kidney to save the life of an ill player this week.

Kevin Jordan is a 19-year-old freshman baseball player at Wake Forest University. He's also afflicted with a disease called antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody vasculitis, a degenerative disorder that can lead to kidney failure. When Jordan couldn't find any donor matches in his family, his coach, 42-year-old Tom Walter, came forward and offered his kidney. Though Walter is white, and African-American recipients usually match better with African-American donors, he and Jordan were compatible, and on Monday they went under the knife.

Both are now recovering nicely at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and Walter says he thinks he'll be fit to coach his team at their season opener on February 18. Jordan, who doctors say can now expect to live a normal-length life, will need lots more time for recovery. But Walter says that's the least of his concerns. “This whole process has never been about getting Kevin back on the field,” he said. “This has always been about Kevin having a chance to have a normal life.”

photo via Steve Shutt of Wake Forest University