Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Simms aims to raise kidney awareness
By Brian O'Connell
Less than two months after announcing his retirement due to a rare kidney disease, former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms revealed on Wednesday that he will need a kidney transplant.
In an interview with the Washington Times on Wednesday, Simms -- who described himself as “young, healthy and active” -- disclosed that his kidney function had dropped to 14 percent, forcing him to be placed on a wait list for a kidney transplant.
“People think it only happens to those who don’t care take of themselves,” Simms told the Times. “It’s a silent killer; there aren’t usually any symptoms. It happened to me and it can happen to anyone. If someone learns more about it and gets evaluated, it will make me happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.”
Simms, 31, was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) as a teenager, but kept the disease a private matter during his playing career. Despite the fact that he required medication to fight the disease, which scars the kidney over time, Simms enjoyed a productive nine-year career with D.C. United (2005-2011) and the Revolution (2012-2013).
Simms revealed at the time of his retirement that his kidney function was at 50 percent when he started his professional career with United in 2005, but had dropped to 20 percent in February.
When kidney function drops to 10 percent, FSGS patients require life-saving dialysis. But the treatment is only temporary; over time, a patient will require a transplant.
With his kidney function at 14 percent, Simms placed himself on the wait list for a transplant three weeks ago. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 99,000 Americans are currently on the wait list. Approximately 14,000 transplants are performed each year, and the typical wait for a patient is about four years.
Simms will film a public service announcement in conjunction with the Revolution to raise awareness of kidney disease. While he battles the disease, Simms, who currently lives in the Boston area, plans to open a spinning studio in Dedham this spring.
Even though Simms intends to stay as active as possible by going to the gym and doing yoga, he admitted that the disease never strays far from his mind.
“I am normally a positive person, but it’s hard not to think about it,” Simms told the Post. “With kidneys, you do have options. It’s not like a heart or lung where you have to have a transplant. There is some hope. It’s not ideal, but it’s what I have. By spreading the word and educating people, I feel like I can accomplish a lot.”
The Revolution have set up a link on the team’s official website to help Simms’ quest in raising awareness about kidney disease.