My Sportsman: Everson Walls
The average weight of an adult human's kidney is approximately one-quarter pound. It is roughly four inches long, 2.5 inches wide and shaped like a fist. The kidney is a miraculous organ, performing a number of functions to keep your blood clean and chemically balanced. Most of us have two kidneys.
Walls made his sacrifice on Feb.
His friend had lost his right foot and two of his left toes during a 15-year battle with Type 2 diabetes. In 2004 Springs was placed on the national transplant waiting list. He needed a kidney but no one in his family was a match.
Walls read up on becoming a donor and offered to be tested. The doctors called it a perfect kidney. "Walls is my greatest friend right now and I have to deal with him for 30 more years," Springs said when the two held a joyous press conference in Dallas two days after the transplant. "I know he's going to hold it over me."
Walls later watched a DVD of the transplant and was transfixed by what he saw. "The doctors sliced me open and then grabbed this fist-sized organ and place it into Ron Springs," says Walls, 47. "It was an amazing thing."
Springs and Walls were teammates for just four seasons (1981-84), but their friendship grew beyond their days at Texas Stadium. They became godfathers of each others' children.
The story of their friendship went national in
Walls and Springs were supposed to spend their second act together, a couple of football Sunshine Boys traveling the road as advocates for organ transplants. But in October, Springs entered Medical City Dallas Hospital to have a cyst removed from his arm. It was expected to be a minor procedure, but as soon as the anesthesia was administered, Springs stopped breathing. "His heart rate stopped," Walls says. "And he immediately flatlined."
Springs, 51, has not regained consciousness. He has been in a coma since Oct. 12. The doctors say there is little hope for recovery but Walls refuses to lose faith. "The first diagnosis that we got from the neurologist was that he would probably not come out of it," Walls says. "That really hit us hard. I mean, really hit us hard. As we recover from that, we realize Ron is still moving around. I don't care if it's a brain stem doing it, the front of his brain or back of his brain, we still think he is aware of us talking to him and visiting him."
The waiting list for donations of kidney and other vital organs as of this writing is
Walls says he and his family visit Springs every few days. He'll squeeze Springs' wrist, pull his ears or pop him on the forehead. "Anything to make sure he stays as active as possible," Walls says. " When they tell us he is not giving any reaction, I take offense to that because I get a reaction every time. The neurologists are taught a certain way. Most of them are not taught by faith. They only go by what they learned in medical school. We're not like that. We have faith. We believe he is going to come out of it."