Everson Walls: Q&A
Posted: Thursday December 27, 2007 3:52PM; Updated: Thursday December 27, 2007 3:58PM
Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Everson Walls for the magazine's Q&A. The retired Cowboy donated a kidney to ex-teammate Ron Springs last February. Here are additional excepts from their conversation:
SI.com: Ron has been in a coma since October. How often do you visit him?
Walls: Every couple of days. If I'm not there, my wife and my daughter go. My daughter works right across the street from the hospital.
SI.com: What do you when you see him?
Walls: I just squeeze his wrist or thump his jaw or pull his ears. I pop him on his forehead. Anything to make sure he stays as active as possible. When they tell us he is not giving any reaction, I take offense to that because I get a reaction every time. The neurologist 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 just not like that. We have faith and we believe he is going to come out of it. I want to make sure he's always has something to react to. Everyone that is there talks to him and tells him we are looking forward to him coming out of it.
SI.com: So you still have faith he'll come out of his coma?
Walls: Absolutely. It's going to take a lot to shake our faith. We have been knocked down a couple of times. The first diagnosis that we got from the neurologist that he would probably not come out. That really hit us hard. I mean, really hit us hard. That was a sad moment. As we recover from that, we realize he is still moving around. I don't care of 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.
SI.com: People now see you as a spokesman for living organ donations. Are you comfortable with that?
Walls: As athletes we are often forced to the forefront of certain issues depending on if we are affected by them. I understood that and have always been receptive of that. What was tough for me to accept was being labeled a hero. I kept letting everybody know that this is not why I did this. It was all about me and Ron and our families. What I did for Ron was unconditional. I wasn't looking for anything. I did it for Ron. I did it my friend. I did it for his family. I did it because I saw how he was suffering. As far as being a spokesperson for organ donation, I have no problem with that. I have learned so much from doing this.
SI.com: How is your health today? Do you feel any effects of the transplant?
Walls: My health is fine. I have always eaten well. I just ran eight miles at the Dallas turkey trot. My training has always been the same. When you give a kidney, I would not say it's a small deal but as far as fact that you are living with one kidney. The fact that you are living with one kidney, as long as that one kidney is healthy, you are not going to have any problems in life.
SI.com: What's next in terms of the foundation?
Walls: I want to see the Ron Springs and Everson Walls Gift for Life Foundation be at the forefront of kidney donation awareness and how childhood obesity can lead to adult onset diabetes and how how lifestyle and knowledge of nutrition must change. And it must change not just with minorities but with all Americans. We need to look at our lifestyles and how they affect your ability to stay healthy for the rest of your life.