Young female football player gets a new kidney

Tools

by Priscilla Luong

WAUWATOSA-- Standing at 5'2" with long golden blonde hair, Abbi Strack isn't your typical defensive end.

"It always starts with the same reaction of 'oh, I'm going to go easy on her,'" said Abbi.

With three older brothers, who all played football, the 18-year old graduate from Racine Horlick High School, knows what she's doing.

"The first time they do, and I throw them into the ground, and they'll be 'oh, okay, not going to go easy on her,'" she said.

Football kept Abbi healthy for the first half of senior year-- but by softball season, Abbi was in stage four of kidney failure.

"It was really hard," she recalled, "I actually showed up to tryouts one day and watched all of them do it, and started crying, because I miss doing it, I love playing the sport-- but sometimes the rest of life has to come before sports."

Abbi was ready to begin dialysis last Thursday.

"Within 24-hours we get a phone call that says, 'we have a match, you need to get up here as fast as you can,'" said John Strack, Abbi's father.

Abbi underwent a kidney transplant at Children's Hospital Friday, now she has three kidneys.

"It's always a fun joke to make with friends," she said, smiling.

Doctors say it's not unusual for patients, like Abbi, to keep both native kidneys after a transplant.

"She just really can't be involved in massive contact sports," said John.

With less protection for her internal organs, Abbi won't be playing football anymore, but as she prepares for college, she says this marks a new beginning.

"The new kidney saved my life," said Abbi.

Abbi plans to study Nursing and Psychology at UWM, she hopes to become a nurse and work at Children's Hospital after college.

  
 

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