Footballer targets stunning comeback just months after kidney transplant

Scotland international Kevin McDonald had a transplant earlier this year but is now aiming to fight his way back to fitness and win a contract at a new club

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Kevin McDonald is targeting a fairytale return to football after undergoing a kidney transplant earlier this year.

The Scotland international received a transplant from his brother Fraser in May, after years of living with a chronic kidney condition.

McDonald, 32, had been suffering in pain for 14 years but now he’s had the operation he is fully focused on resuming his career.

McDonald’s last club was Fulham and it is 14 months since his last professional appearance – a late cameo as a sub for the Cottagers in a Championship win over Cardiff.

It has been a long and painful road to recovery but now that he is fully on the mend, the midfielder says he is relishing the prospect of making a comeback.

Experienced midfielder Kevin McDonald is plotting a return to football

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Whoever gives me the chance now I’ll obviously be grateful to them. I know that I’m going to do a bit of a trial, but it is what it is.

“To have the chance to play football again is more than enough for me, so whatever needs to be done I’ll do it to get back on the pitch.”

McDonald, who has also played for the likes of Burnley, Sheffield United and Wolves, admits his his body initially rejected the donated organ unexpectedly after the surgery, meaning he ended up spending an additional two weeks in hospital.

McDonald’s last professional appearance was in July 2020

He added: “Luckily enough, I underwent the treatment to kind of deal with the rejection and luckily enough that worked.

“But the plan was to be in for four days and in the end I was in for 18 days. So the extra 14 days I was in I was hooked up to a drip for six hours each day, to make sure the kidney didn’t fully reject.

“Luckily enough the treatment did its work and we are here and we’re safe now.”

McDonald admits the whole process was a painstaking one that understandably took its toll on him.

He revealed: “I was losing muscle by the day – I think I went in at 94 kilograms and I came out at 85, so you could see it on me that I’d lost a lot of weight.

“And I was just so tired at all times really. I’d go for a shower and then I’d need to lie down for half an hour.

“But I’m out doing running now, I’m on a six weeks pre-season kind of programme and I’m just in the final week of that just now. So the aim is to get back in and try and play football again.”

He is unsure of where his next club will be but one thing is for sure – he is determined to give it his best shot.

He added: “I need to get in amongst a training group and obviously still be careful and stuff because of my immune system etc, but I need to play these little games and normal training now to get to a level of fitness where I want to be.

“I’m at a good level of fitness now to go running and stuff but I need football fitness now.

“So we’ve got an appointment to get a kidney guard fitted at the hospital and from then on we’ll be looking to crack on with training and see where I am.

“And that will be the moment that tells me if I’m able to play football again or I need to go and look at something else.”

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