Rare Disease Report

Footballer Andrew Cole Recovering from Kidney Transplant to Manage Rare Disease

JUNE 07, 2017
James Radke
Legendary British footballer Andrew Cole has undergone a kidney transplant to treat focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSG).
Cole learned of his rare condition in 2015 when he developed kidney failure following a viral infection.
FSGS is a rare kidney disorder characterized by scar tissue that forms in the glomeruli in the kidney. Initial treatment will vary with the person but can involve corticosteroids, diuretics, immunosuppressive drugs, diet changes, and/or plasmapheresis.  Unfortunately, many people, like Cole, will develop kidney failure and require a kidney transplat or dialysis.
In April, Cole received a kidney transplant from his nephew and while it takes several months to know if the surgery will be a success, Cole is cautiously optimistic.
At a sporting event recently, Cole told the local Manchester news that he is doing well and the rare condition has reminded him that he is mortal.
 “Me personally I'll get there, it will take time and perseverance. At times it is tough, I think the toughest thing for me is that I can't be as stubborn as I used to be because no matter what I do now I can't get there any quicker.
“In football terms if you are injured you can do a little bit more but with an illness you can't get there any quicker, it takes time and you get there when you get there.”
The long time professional athlete at first was shocked that he had a chronic illness that he could not simply ‘shake off’.
When he first learned fo the condition, he thought it was just a mild illness. Cole said,
“I got back from abroad on the Wednesday, was ill on the Thursday, was ill on the Friday and then called the former Man United doc (Dr Mike Stone) the Friday. I had some tests on the Saturday, was admitted to the hospital on the Monday. When the doc called me he said I had to get myself into hospital and that was that.
“It was a real shock because when he said get yourself in, I thought nothing of it. I thought 'get myself in, get checked out and then go home'. So when the guy who became my specialist said to me I won't be going home. I thought that it can't be that bad, but it was that bad. I just kept saying you’re not ill, man up go to the gym. I wouldn’t confess.”
“I just thought I was dehydrated. I thought drink loads of water and then you'll be good to go. Then I started getting a lot of water and that wasn't like me because I never gained weight. I was gaining more and more weight and blowing up. That was the only reason I called the doc.”
“My wife got on my case as well. To be fair, it's a good job she did, otherwise I would not have bothered, I would not have bothered. But I'm now here to tell the tale. I’m fortunate, very much so.”
Andrew Cole is retired from British football but was an exceptional strikerlasting 20 years in the league (1988 to 2008). He was well remembered for his time with Manchester United of the Premier League where he spent 6 years and won numerous awards/trophies.

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