Nix says he feels great
By By Jared Florreich / staff writer
July 4, 2003
HATTIESBURG Former USM star running back Derrick Nix, fresh off kidney surgery June 6, is back on the football field at Southern Miss.
Though his playing days are over, he now has the opportunity to live a healthy life and pursue a career in coaching.
Nix will be a graduate assistant to the 2003 Golden Eagle Football team on the defensive side of the ball, a different look than he's used to.
Still, Nix said it would be tough to adjust to a non-playing lifestyle.
Nix injured his ankle in 2000, and began taking anti-inflammatory pills that a team doctor gave him to reduce pain and swelling. He took medication which caused his weight to balloon, and he retained a lot of fluid, a sign of kidney trouble.
Nix redshirted in 2001, still battling his kidney ailment. Doctors cleared Nix to play in 2002, a season in which he rushed for 1,194 yards and 11 touchdowns. Nix finished 12 yards shy of setting the all-time school record for rushing yards.
In that same season, Nix re-injured his ankle, and ultimately his kidney ailment flared up again. Nix has filed suit against the companies of Vioxx and Celebrex, medication he took that could have caused his kidney ailment. The lawsuit, which asks for potential future NFL earnings, is still pending.
Nix suffered from a kidney disease called focal segmental sclerosis, which is almost identical to the disease that faced Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning and former San Antonio Spurs forward Sean Elliott.
His brother Marcus, 33, after weeks of tests, was an identical match to Nix, and according to Derrick had no reservations about giving up his kidney.
Both Nix's have recovered with no side effects.
Still, Derrick takes 25 pills a day, and said he couldn't pronounce all the pills, and didn't know what some of them were. He has been taking anti-rejection pills, in case the kidney ends up not being a match.
But Nix is grateful to be healthy and to everyone who helped him, sent cards, and kept him in their prayers.