Parks' Career Ends Because Of Only One Kidney

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy announced after practice Thursday night that wide receiver Anthony Parks, a junior college transfer from Butler (Kan.) Community College, would no longer be allowed to play football. Parks was found to only have one kidney.

Parks, who had been running with the first team until a quad injury sidelined him, was informed today that he has only one kidney. Parks, nor his family, reportedly knew that he had just one kidney. The discovery was made following an MRI and subsequent testing following his quad injury.

"We just want to make a one time announcement," said an obviously saddened Gundy. "We found out he has just one kidney today. He is no longer able to participate in a contact sport. It is really a tough situation for the young man."

Parks, a junior, earned first-team All-Jayhawk Conference recognition last season as both a wide receiver and returner. He had 28 receptions for 820 yards and eight touchdowns last season at Butler County, and averaged 14.8 yards per punt return. He also excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-American honors as a sophomore at Butler County. During the spring he earned a starting role on the offense and caught a long touchdown pass from Bobby Reid in the spring game.

It was devastating news for Parks, who always seemed to be upbeat and enthusiastic at practice.

"My concerns today were for him and not for the depth (at wide receiver)," said Gundy. "He was a guy that we figured as a starter. He went and got an ultra sound today and we discovered he had one kidney. It was very fortunate that we found it."

Gundy has had to do some tough chores as head coach, such as suspending seven players last spring, but he agreed that this was maybe more difficult.

"Very difficult. He's devastated," Gundy said of Parks. "The guy loved football and was really trying to make a point because people had told him all his life that he couldn't compete at this level, that he wasn't fast enough or strong enough. Which he did. He accomplished his goal because he was going to start for us until we found this out, so he accomplished his goal.

"He loved to play the game and we had to tell him today that he couldn't. We asked him how he wanted to handle it and he said he wanted to tell everybody the truth because there was no reason to hide it. He didn't want to release a medical reason, he said, 'Just tell everybody I have one kidney and I can't play.'"

Gundy said he will be put on medical scholarship. He also said he was offered a chance to serve as a student assistant coach. Gundy added an emphasis with him will be to make sure Parks continues his academics and gets his degree.

"Some players don't want to be around it for awhile when that happens," said Gundy. "I don't know if I could have been a student assistant if they had told me I couldn't play any more. Our concern was that he continue to be a good student and graduate first off. And then if at anytime he wants to get back involved then we'd love to have him. We will continue to take care of him just like he is one of our starters."

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