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Publish date: Feb 8, 2011

Wake Forest baseball coach donates kidney to player

By Steve Shutt

Kevin Jordan (left) recieved a kidney from his baseball coach at Wake Forrest, Tom Walter. Photo by: Steve Shutt.

Wake Forest's slogan for the baseball team in 2011 is "What are you willing to sacrifice to help make this team better?"

Head coach Tom Walter's intent was to have his players thinking about sacrifice bunts, moving runners over, and giving up personal glory to help the Demon Deacons improve as a team.

But what Walter chose to sacrifice is greater than simply hanging in on a curve ball and taking one for the team.

Walter gave up a kidney.

In a procedure performed Monday (Feb. 7) at the Emory Transplant Center in Atlanta, Walter had one of his kidneys removed and donated to Kevin Jordan, a freshman member of the Wake Forest baseball team.

Dr. Kenneth Newell, the lead surgeon on the team that removed Walter's kidney, was pleased with the procedures.

"Both surgeries went very well," said Dr. Newell. "We are pleased with how each patient is progressing. We expect each will recover fully."

Jordan suffers from ANCA vasculitis, a type of autoimmune swelling caused by autoantibodies. The immune system produces normal antibodies to fight infection in the body. However, an autoantibody is an abnormal antibody that attacks a person's own cells. ANCA stands for Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Autoantibody and when these autoantibodies are present in the kidneys, it causes a leaking of blood and protein into the urine and eventually results in kidney failure.

Jordan was initially diagnosed with ANCA vasculitis in April of 2010. An all-city baseball player in Columbus, Ga., Jordan had signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Wake Forest in November, 2009, prior to his senior season. Jordan was one of the first prospects that Walter contacted after being hired as Wake Forest's head coach in June, 2009. That October, Jordan finished second in the Bo Jackson 5-Tool Championship, an event held at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. that measures a player's ability to hit, hit with power, run, throw and field. Wagner Mateo of the Dominican Republic won the event and signed a $500,000 free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jordan finished second overall to Mateo and won the home run portion of the competition with six homers. He signed with Wake Forest just weeks later.

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Steve Shutt is assistant athletic director for media relations at Wake Forest.