Ostertag to donate kidney

The Associated Press, 06/01/02

DALLAS -- Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag will donate one of his kidneys to a sister who has diabetes, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The procedure is scheduled for June 27 at Baylor University Medical Center, the newspaper said Friday on its online edition.

"I'm nervous," said the 7-foot-2 Ostertag, who played high school basketball in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville before starring at Kansas.

"There's always that chance that I won't come out of it, or that something will happen later, an infection or something. But the chances are slim. I don't think about it that much."

His sister, 26-year-old Amy Hall has had type 1 diabetes since she was 7. In 1999, her kidney problems began, leading to kidney failure in March.

Tests in March confirmed the two were a perfect match.

"He has never thought twice about it, never looked back, never said, 'I shouldn't be doing this because it could mess up my career,"' Hall said.

Baylor's transplant committee must approve the procedure, but Teresa Metz, a registered nurse and the clinical transplant coordinator overseeing Hall's case, said the approval is a mere formality. Metz said the risk of complication is minimal.

Ostertag is expected to be hospitalized for two days after the procedure. If there are no complications, the 29-year-old player probably can work up to his normal regimen in 4-to-6 weeks, Metz said.

Ostertag said he spoke with Jazz vice president of operations Kevin O'Connor in March about the procedure and that O'Connor was "really cool about it."

Ostertag, who has two seasons and $16.3 million left on his contract, said coach Jerry Sloan is aware of the situation.

Hall said her brother's view is "Basketball's not as important to me as my sister."

"I don't think any amount of money can replace a family member, or help them (the Jazz) in the way he's helping me," she said.