Kevin McDonald is set for a special family affair on Saturday when his brother comes to watch him at Exeter for the first time since donating him a kidney.
Ex-Premier League star McDonald had been playing with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disease, since he was 18. His condition eventually deteriorated so much it left him with only one working kidney, which was functioning at just 10 per cent.
The former Scotland and Fulham midfielder needed a vital transplant in May 2021 from his older brother Fraser to potentially save not just his career but his life. It has paid off after McDonald recovered and signed for Dundee United in January 2022 where he played 11 times before moving to League One Exeter this January.
McDonald admits he will be forever indebted to his sibling who is due at Exeter with dad Ali when the Grecians host Accrington. McDonald told Mirror Football: “My brother and dad will be down this weekend which will be good.
“They have never been to watch Exeter before - this is their first game. Hopefully we can put on a bit of a show and win. Fraser is my No.1 fan who will be buzzing and also my biggest critic. We get on really well and he wants the best for me in every aspect of life.
“He is eager to see me playing and doing well - especially now more so. I’ve settled in well at Exeter, I know I probably won’t get to Premier League level again. But I can play at this level comfortably, and the level above probably, and want to continue playing, which is my sole aim.
“There is nothing to hold me back from playing now if my body holds up from a physical point of view. There are always going to be niggles here and there but I am feeling good.”
McDonald has two goals in his last three games and six appearances in total since joining Exeter until the end of the season. The star is thrilled to be back playing and enjoying life again after the recent birth of daughter Darcy who joins Layla, who arrived only two months after McDonald’s transplant.
McDonald added: “To go through what I went through, there are times when you question a lot of things but you have to keep going. Being back and playing football was a bonus but I feel the same as five years ago - I want to keep playing and keep doing well.”
McDonald’s recovery was by no means straightforward though as he nearly ended up in intensive care post-surgery. Then he was on a drip eight hours a day for 10 days as his body initially rejected the kidney at Guy’s Hospital before being allowed home over two weeks later.
McDonald, who won two promotions to the Premier League in five years at Fulham before leaving in 2021, added: “There was a complication when they were putting the central line in.
“My heart went up to 180 beats a minute and it was chaos. I was close to going into intensive care. This was before the rejection was even getting treated because my body rejected the kidney initially which was alarming. I was on a drip for 10 days but you have no choice. Eventually the levels came down and it was all good.”2023-03-25T09:55:56Z dg43tfdfdgfd