The Herald Bulletin
In the spring of 2011, Ethan Wilson’s future still was dominated by baseball.
A 25th-round selection by the Chicago White Sox in the previous summer’s draft, the former Pendleton Heights star was preparing for his first full professional season in Glendale, Ariz., when his life took a sudden turn.
On the morning before workouts were scheduled to begin, Wilson awoke at 3 a.m. with unparalleled pain in his ankle.
“I couldn’t even walk,” Wilson said during a telephone interview Saturday. “I should have been on crutches it hurt so bad.”
The mystery was further deepened by the fact that Wilson couldn’t remember injuring the ankle.
He explained what was happening to the White Sox doctors, and they ran some tests.
His blood and urine samples suggested he could be experiencing kidney failure.
A later biopsy confirmed those suspicions, and Wilson was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) — a disease marked by scarring of the kidney filters.
Within a month of his sleepless morning, Wilson was back homein Pendleton.
Doctors determined his left kidney had shut down, and his right kidney currently is operating at just 18 percent efficiency.
A donor was needed to keep Wilson alive.
“I’ve always put the heart on my driver’s license,” he said, referring to the decision to become an organ donor. “I chose that. But now I kinda have a little bit more respect for how it works and who it helps. I never thought I would be the one who received it.”
In 2006, Wilson won the Most Valuable Player award as Pendleton Heights won its second of four Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament championships.
The tourney, named in honor of a former Anderson High School catcher and part-time employee at The Herald Bulletin who died in a car crash in 2000, has developed a unique relationship with the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO).
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