WASHINGTON — Former NBA center Manute Bol is hospitalized with severe kidney trouble and a painful skin condition after falling critically ill while returning home from helping fight election corruption in his native Sudan.
“I believe he is going to survive this, but he’s had a total kidney failure,” Tom Prichard, director of Sudan Sunrise, a group that promotes reconciliation in Sudan, said Tuesday. “If he’d stayed two more days in Sudan, I don’t think he’d be alive right now.”
Prichard says the 7-foot-6 Bol was returning to the United States last week and was hospitalized during a stopover at Dulles International Airport. He said Bol has undergone three dialysis treatments and has developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition that has caused him to lose patches of skin.
The skin around Bol’s mouth was so sore that he went 11 days without eating and could barely talk. Bol, 47, is on morphine and will probably be moved to a burn unit, according to Prichard.
Bol’s wife and newborn daughter have traveled from their home in Kansas to be at the hospital. Bol still hasn’t met his daughter because visitors are restricted, having to wear mask, gown, and gloves to prevent infection.
Prichard said it’s believed that Bol contracted the skin disease as a reaction to kidney medication he took while in Africa.
He was in Sudan to help build a school in conjunction with Sudan Sunrise but stayed longer than anticipated after the president of southern Sudan asked him to make election appearances and use his influence to counter corruption in Bol’s home county.
Bol played for four teams over 10 seasons in the NBA, averaging 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots.