To resolve our organ donor shortage, we need an opt-out system


Bryan Brandenburg 
ESPN writer Royce Young and his wife Keri found out this week their unborn child doesn't have a brain. Anencephaly, as it's known, affects about one out of every 10,000 babies born, and is invariably lethal. Without a doubt, the Youngs just received some of the worst news possible.

In the wake of that information, though, the Youngs made an extraordinary choice. They decided to carry the baby to term with the intent of donating her organs. An estimated 40-70 percent of children under two years old on transplant waiting lists die before a match is found — and demand for infant organs far outstrips supply. The Youngs have made a decision that takes incredible selflessness and mental fortitude, and it's likely their choice will save multiple lives.

At about the same time the Youngs' world was rocked, an unexpected guest stole the show down in New Orleans at NBA All-Star Weekend. Jarrius Robertson, a 14-year-old battling a chronic liver disease, popped into the spotlight to roast NBA players during interviews, sink a shot during the Celebrity All-Star Game and generally make everyone's day. When he was a year old, he was the recipient of a donated liver — and is on the waiting list for another. During All-Star Weekend, he wore a shirt proclaiming "it takes lives to save lives." He's right — organ donation is one of the most fundamentally selfless choices one can make. Continue reading