The sad news came to Everson Walls late Thursday afternoon. Ron Springs, the former teammate to whom he had donated a kidney in 2007, had died in a Dallas hospital at the age of 54.
“We are people of faith, and we never gave up hope that he would regain consciousness,” Walls said. Springs’s health had improved after the transplant, then, 226 days later, he fell into a coma after minor surgery to remove a cyst from his arm. “He seemed to be holding his own. They say he just took a breath and he flat-lined.
“He was such a worldly person who touched so many lives in every area code.”
Walls played with Springs on Cowboys teams in the early 1980s and was the first athlete to donate an organ to a former teammate. “He touched a lot of people. His impact was universal. He made a difference,” Walls told the Star-Telegram. “It was like he was sacrificed for that.
“I have had people call and text me and say they donated organs because of what we went through. It's amazing to be able to leave that kind of legacy. What a mark he made on society as a whole. Forget sports. This is a real-life situation and he was the face of that.
"He is the face of the sacrifice and the strength of people who deal with kidney disease and diabetes."
As Springs’s condition deteriorated from diabetes, his son, Redskins defensive back Shawn Springs, considered quitting football to give his father a kidney. His father would not hear of it. “I think that was a tremendous gesture, and it just justifies the fact that he's a loving son," Ron Springs told Jason La Canfora of The Post. “But I couldn't have let him do that, because I always prayed and wanted him to be a professional athlete, so I would not have shortened his career by no means necessary.”
Walls, incredibly, was a match.
“Everson did one of the most noblest things that an individual could do,” Tony Hill, a former wide receiver for the Cowboys, said. “Everything looked positive. Ron was very optimistic. And then there was a dramatic change.”
Tony Dorsett and Springs shared a backfield with the Cowboys and was stunned at the news of Springs’s death.
“I thought he would one day be Ron again,” Dorsett said. “I'm in shock about it. ... He's in a better place. He's whole again.”
From The Post: Family deals with Ron Springs’s coma
Shawn Springs: Coping with his father’s condition
Springs’s life in photos: Dallas Morning News
Video: Walls becomes activist