Wilson DE Kareem McDonald out with kidney ailment, eyes return to the field

September 19, 2013

After Wilson‘s Kareem McDonald finished playing in a 30-14 win over Anacostia last Friday, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defensive end was feeling heavy, and sick. He didn’t feel like himself during the game, either, and after waking up the next morning he knew something was wrong.

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So on Saturday morning, he made a visit to Children’s National Medical Center, where he found out he was suffering from Nephrotic Syndrome, a kidney condition he has had since he was a young child, he said. McDonald had gained nearly 20 pounds over the weekend, most of that weight accumulating from swelling in his back.

“I’ve never felt like this. I feel pretty bad,” McDonald said. “I’m really scared. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”

He’s made periodic visits to the hospital this week, he said, and will likely miss the next three weeks of the football season, including this weekend’s game against Surrattsville. The setback comes at a time when McDonald was playing well. He was a menace during many of the Tigers defensive plays in the win over the Indians, posting three tackles and one sack. He set high expectations for himself back in August, confident that he could become the best defensive player in the city and that his team could earn a berth in the Turkey Bowl just one year after being disqualified from the annual city title game for using an ineligible player.

McDonald said he expects to be back for the Tigers’ game against Dunbar on Oct. 4, which begins the toughest three-game stretch of the regular season, with dates against Ballou and H.D. Woodson in the subsequent weeks. McDonald, who said he is taking this week off from school to rest, met with Wilson’s coaches Monday at the school, where he said he also picked up a number of recruiting letters – including from one Kentucky, Rutgers and Temple.

He is still one of the city’s most promising college football prospects, regardless of his kidney condition. He has garnered major interest from the top schools in the country, including Alabama. And if there is something positive to take away from this week, it’s two points for McDonald: he’s still just a junior, and he expects to be ready for the final six weeks of the regular season.

He said his weight is around 227 pounds at the moment, and that he is taking medication for the swelling. One of the fears, at least medically, is that he will ingest too much fluid when he is on the playing field — but in terms of the condition threatening his football career, McDonald seems at peace with the prospect of returning to the field.

“This is my first high school injury…I was planning on having a big season, now I got to sit out three or four weeks,” McDonald said. “I think I’m going to be all right. I’m going to come back stronger.”

NUMBER CRUNCH:3

The numbers of goals scored by St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes forward Graham Guidry in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Bishop Ireton. Guidry has now scored five goals with four assists on the year, and the Saints (4-0-2) remain unbeaten.

BREAKFAST LINKS

– Danielle Fernandez and Jenna Kaufmann each scored goals to lift Damascus 2-0 over Walter Johnson in Montgomery County girls soccer action Wednesday.

–DeMatha wide receiver Chris Jones announced his commitment to Wisconsin on Wednesday, becoming the second Stags’ player to pledge to the Badgers in the past four months.

–Born deaf, Poolesville boys’ soccer coach Christos Nicholas has pushed through his disability and developed unique communication methods to lead his team.

–Paul VI volleyball entered the season believing they were the best team in the WCAC. So far, they’re living up to that declaration. That story plus the latest volleyball Top 10 is here.

–After a concussion sidelined her for more than a year, Mikaela Berst is back on the field for Lake Braddock this fall. The story, plus a new field hockey Top 10 is here.

– A D.C. Council measure would require public schools to report sports funding, equipment and participation levels as the focus on the disparity between boys’ and girls’ sports in the District intensifies.

PHOTOS OF THE NIGHT

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Brandon Parker | September 18, 2013