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The Inspirational Kemoeatu Brothers: Big Brother Quits NFL to Give Little Bro His Kidney
You’re not going to believe this everybody, but we actually have something nice to write about the NFL today. And when I say nice, I mean really nice. Not just “well at least Jameis Winston doesn’t play in the NFL yet” nice.
The Kemoeatu Brothers were both linemen in the NFL. Ma’ake Kemoeatu, 35, the eldest of seven children, was a defensive tackle in the NFL from 2002 to 2012 for the Ravens, Panthers, Redskins, and then the Ravens for one more year, when he won a Super Bowl Ring. One of his younger brothers, Chris Kemoeatu, 31, was an offensive guard from 2005 to 2011, playing all seven seasons with the Steelers and winning two Super Bowl rings of his own.
Amazingly, Chris achieved all his success while playing through pain caused by a serious kidney disease. But after the 2011 season, the pain was too much and he had to call it quits. His doctors then told him his condition was getting worse and that he would need a new kidney.
So what did his big brother Ma’ake do? Even though he’d just had a renaissance year with the Ravens in 2012, he quit playing football so he could give his brother one of his kidneys.
“He couldn’t play anymore, and I didn’t want to be in a position where he couldn’t play but I’d keep playing,” Ma’ake recently explained at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “As soon as my brother’s health was at risk I wanted to stop everything.”
At first, though, not everyone was on board with Ma’ake’s decision.
“My dad wanted to do it, and we kind of got into it because I didn’t want him to do it,” Ma’ake recounted. “I’m the oldest of seven kids so it was my responsibility to take care of my younger brothers and sisters. If my brother or any of my siblings needed blood, they have to have my blood. If any of my siblings needed a kidney, it would have to be my kidney.”
So a year later, after the Kemoeatu Brothers lost some weight, they went under the knife. Now they’re both recovering nicely—Chris with a brand new, fully functioning kidney. And neither has any plans to stage a comeback in the NFL.
Instead, they’re going to relocated to Hawaii to spend more time with family.
Hat Tip – [For the Win]