Former Southern Mississippi running back Derrick Nix will receive a transplanted kidney from his brother as soon as next month.
Marcus Nix, 33, was found to be a match with Derrick, 23, in February. If the transplant is successful, Marcus’ kidney could allow his youngest sibling to end the daily dialysis treatment he has been having since late December.
Derrick Nix has focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a degenerative kidney disease. The transplant operation will be done at Alabama-Birmingham Hospital in late May or early June.
If all goes well, Nix will be able to resume a normal life though his football career is over.
“The new one would kind of be more up front and unprotected, so it’s the best idea (not to play), and that’s been hard for me to deal with,” Nix told The Clarion-Ledger and Hattiesburg American newspapers for Saturday’s editions.
A message left by The Associated Press at Nix’s house in Hattiesburg was not immediately returned.
Nix is the school’s second-leading career rusher with 3,584 yards.
He filed a lawsuit on April 2 against three drug companies that make the anti-inflammatory drugs Vioxx and Celebrex, which he says caused his disease.
Nix was diagnosed with a less severe kidney disorder during the 2000 season after he was given anti-inflammatory drugs to treat a sprained ankle.
He sat out a season and a half while recovering from the ailment, and returned last year to run for 1,194 yards and 11 touchdowns.
But after the season, tests revealed Nix’s condition had worsened.
Nix said his brother offered the kidney as soon as it was determined a transplant was needed, but he wanted to wait.
“I was doing so well, and was on a waiting list, so we waited to see whether one from a cadaver might come up. That way, maybe we could save his kidney,” Derrick Nix told the newspapers.
But the family finally decided it was time to go ahead with the operation.
“I’m the one who was always in pain, so I was willing to do whatever had to be done,” Derrick Nix said. “But there’s nothing wrong with him, and now he’s going to be in the hospital, being stuck with needles and everything, doing all this for me. It’s something.”