Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald has revealed he is putting his career on hold
to have a kidney transplant.
The Scotland international has been suffering from kidney disease for around 14 years
now, after a medical during his move from Dundee to Burnley when he was 18
highlighted some abnormalities.
McDonald has gone on to make over 500 professional appearances and has represented
his country on five occasions, but now faces the prospect of having surgery – hopefully in
April – to avoid having to be placed on dialysis.
The 32-year-old is hoping to play again after the procedure, with friends and family
having put themselves forward to offer a replacement kidney, but McDonald has accepted
he may have pulled on his boots for the final time.
I’ve been fighting chronic kidney disease, or kidney failure ever since I started
playing football. I’ve had it my whole career and obviously been under the orders of
the doctors throughout my whole career,’ McDonald told FFCtv.
‘No one sees this part of football. People just see you on the pitch and they have
their opinions of you on the pitch and that’s that. I just wanted to come out with this.
‘I’ve had a lot of people asking about “Why am I not playing, why am I not going out
on loan” and this and that and it is something that we didn’t want to share until this
moment because obviously what’s coming up it needs to be said now.
‘So it’s just to make everyone aware that I’ve had a chronic kidney disease my whole
playing career and that’s where it’s at.’
McDonald was left out of Scott Parker‘s two 25-man Premier League squads this
season and he was expected to leave Fulham on loan in January, but he has revealed
why that did not happen.
‘I’ve known I’ve needed a kidney transplant for nearly 12 years now.
I’ve loved my whole career in football but at the same time, in the back of my mind,
my health has always been my priority. Football is a game but we’re talking about
life-threatening diseases,’ he said.
‘I’ve got one kidney that doesn’t work at all and one kidney that’s about
10 percent now. I’ve been playing with stage 1, to now stage 5 kidney disease,
which is chronic kidney disease, kidney failure.’
He added: ‘It’s a part of me opening up about it, people build these things up
and of course, there were certain reasons why to not tell anyone,
so people and football clubs and businesses might not want to employ you as such,
so there were reasons to keep it (quiet).
‘But now, knowing that I’m towards the end of my career I’ve taken the decision
to pick health over football, this season especially – and we just want to get it over and
done with, to be honest with you.
‘It’s been creeping up on you for so long and it’s kind of like I’d rather go get it done
and get on with the recovery again.’