CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant is fighting a much tougher battle than trying to get past an offensive lineman and sack a quarterback.
In an ESPN.com feature, Bryant detailed his battle with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, FSGS, which has led to kidney failure and his premature retirement from the National Football League prior to the start of the 2018 season.
“I need a kidney,” Bryant told ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “And I want people to know you don’t have to be a match for me to donate a kidney. Why not save someone else’s life and mine at the same time?
“People get so hung up on, ‘Oh, I’m not a match for you. I wouldn’t only want to donate my kidney to you.’ Like, who cares? You could potentially save someone else’s life. Like yeah, you saved a friend, but yeah, you saved two people. Two is better than one, right?”
Currently, Bryant is searching for a donor match among his friends and family, but with his O negative blood type, it has been difficult to find one. The Bryant family is hoping that through a kidney donor chain, a match will be found.
A kidney donor chain starts with someone who is not a match to Bryant agreeing to donate to someone else in need in the hopes of getting a healthy organ from someone who is does match.
Bryant’s condition was discovered in May of 2018, when after being cut by the Detroit Lions, he signed a deal with the Oakland Raiders. Upon review of his medical tests, Bryant was told by Raiders doctors to go to the hospital immediately.
A battery of tests confirmed the FSGS diagnosis, and Bryant has been in treatment since then.
The 28-year old Bryant starts his mornings by taking medications to control his blood pressure, and then, begins an IV drip of dialysis solution. Then, he drains the old solution, which filters the blood, and gets a second solution put into his system.
That process must be repeated four times throughout the day.
Bryant was selected by the Browns in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of East Central University in Oklahoma. Despite his being a fierce pass rusher, off-the-field issues caused him to drop into the last round of the draft.
Over 31 games in three years with the Browns, Bryant registered 63 total tackles, 41 solo stops, 22 assists and 8.5 sacks.