High school athlete in need of a kidney

- A high school football and basketball player got some news no athlete ever wants to hear.

"They told me I couldn't play football anymore," A.J. Jefferson said.

Jefferson said it all started last November when he rolled his ankle. "It wasn't getting better, then I had swelling in both legs," Jefferson said.

He went to the doctor and was quickly rushed to the emergency room. "Doctors discovered I have chronic kidney disease and my kidneys are failing," Jefferson said.

Now a sophomore at Mary Persons High School, Jefferson couldn't finish his freshman football season and hasn't been able to play this year either. He said his love for the game is what's helping him get through this troubling time.

"I come out here for every practice and game," Jefferson said. "I have a deep love for the game. I've played since I was little and it's helping to come out here and be around the guys."

The 15-year-old does eight hours of dialysis every day as he waits for a kidney.

"He's treating this like it's a game," Mary Persons High School varsity head coach Brian Nelson said. "Games get tough and hard, but you have to fight and battle through."

The community is also stepping up and rallying behind the teen.

"It's been mind-blowing to have a community that supports you through hard times, to have teammates, coaches, friends and loved ones all back you up," Jefferson said. "It really means a lot."

For more information on if you're a match or if you're an eligible kidney donor for A.J. visit https://emory.donorscreen.org/register/donate-kidney

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