Clyde Simms was a professional MLS midfielder at the height of his career with the New England Revolution and DC United. Ever since, Focal Segmental Glomrulosclerosis [FSGS] has altered his life, Mr.Simms retired from the sport he loves.
At a time when people need to be informed about Mr. Simms and FSGS, The Premier League Insider invited him to be interviewed. The purpose was to discuss the disease that affects Mr. Simms and how he is dealing with it.
The idea from the interview originated from the segment "Our Friend Clyde" of the New England Revolution webpage. It is our hope that one day, someone will step up and help Clyde Simms and those who suffer from this terrible disease.
1. What is Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis [FSGS]and when did you first experience its symptoms ?
FSGS stands for Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. It is a rare kidney disease that attacks the kidney's filtering system causing serious scarring. FSGS is one of the causes of a serious condition known as Nephrotic Syndrome. Over time, FSGS takes over the kidney, reducing the kidney function and eventually causes kidney failure.
2. You were a midfielder for DC United and the New England Revolution. When did you realize that your disease was interfering with your MLS Career and daily living?
I guess thinking back, my disease was affecting my career from day one. When I started playing for DC United back in 2005, my kidney function was around 50%. Meaning the filtered my blood at half the rate of a human with normal kidney function. Over time it was something that was happening so slowly that I could hardly tell a difference. What was really happening was that my recovery time was a lot slower than others. This is a big issue when playing professional sports because you train or play almost every day of the week. There is little time for recovery. So as my kidney function got lower and lower, it became harder and harder to compete every single day, making it pretty difficult to be a professional athlete.
3. How do you cope with everyday life and FSGS since you retired from the MLS?
My days are hit or miss. Some days I wake up and feel pretty good! Some days i wake up and i have a lot of pain in my toe from an injury i had last season, to the point that it is hard to walk. The toe is having a very difficult time healing. I am on a few different blood pressure medications due to my condition. Some of which make me even more tired during the day, so I have to carve out time for a nap each day in order to have good energy when I am awake. I must say that my days are much easier now that I am not trying to play soccer, but I honestly don't think I could manage having a 9-5 job right now with my energy levels.
4. Is there anything in life that you would have wanted to do differently?
If you asked me 10 years ago where I'd be when I was 31, I would of told you I would be married with kids and lucky to have still been playing soccer. I took soccer very serious because I loved playing it and I didn't want anyone or anything to take that joy away from me. With my condition, I was a little bit behind the eight ball. I couldn't help that. What I could do was take care of every thing else. I became very regimented. Everything from my extra personal workouts, to what I was eating, what I was drinking, to how much I was on my feet everyday, to how much sleep I was getting. Soccer ran my life! I had to do all of this just to keep up with everyone else and there were still times where it just wasn't enough and became very frustrating mentally. I lived in my own little bubble just to continue to play the game of soccer. As you can imagine, this made it very difficult to be in a relationship. I also missed so many family weddings, funerals, and birthday parties. It makes me very sad to think about sometimes. These are things that I cannot go back and relive but there are times where I really wish I could.
5. What are the causes and treatment for FSGS?
This is something that doctors and scientists are still trying to figure out. No one knows the causes of FSGS yet. There is no treatment for FSGS, theres only things you can do to kind of slow it down.
1. Keep Blood Pressure Normal
3. Eat Well
4. Drink Plenty of Fluid
6. Are there any ways to help you and others with FSGS?
Yes! There is an organization that is working on finding out everything about FSGS and trying to find out how to stop it in its early stages. It is called The NephCure Foundation. Their website is http://www.nephcure.org/. The kidney foundation does not fund research for FSGS because it is so rare. So definitely check out this website to learn more about it!
7. What is your message to the world?
Kidney disease in general is something that we need to become more aware of. There are over 100,000 people on the transplant list in America alone. I would guess that there are many more walking around everyday with no idea that they or someone they love, has a kidney disease or is developing one. There are no real symptoms that affect you to the point where you think you need to seek help. It is a silent killer, which makes it very very dangerous.
I have three messages I want to highlight.
1. Get in shape. Take care of yourself. High Blood Pressure and Diabetes are the cause of 2/3 of all kidney diseases.
2. Get checked! Just because you feel good and have no pain doesn't mean everything is ok. Check your blood pressure weekly and go get your blood tested to check your levels to make sure everything is ok.
3. Know and spread the word that everyone has 2 kidneys, but you only need 1 to live a normal life. There is no greater gift then to be able to save someone's life while still living a perfectly normal one. Spread the word! We could clear that transplant list so fast if people only knew this!
Thanks for reading
Thank you Clyde for visiting and the door of The Premier League Insider is always open for you. From America to the World, our best wishes to you now and always.
"Clyde Simms Retires From Professional Soccer" You Tube Video courtesy of DC UNited