We all love football because it's the ultimate team game. In any team sport, success is only possible when each player sacrifices his personal glory for the greater cause of the team, and football brings that metaphor to life by asking players to literally sacrifice their bodies for the man next to them.
Louisiana-Monroe defensive coordinator Mike Collins has a great example to show his players what it means to sacrifice your body for someone else's gain. All he needs to do is lift up his shirt.
In January, Collins used the rare down time the FBS coaching calendar offers by flying up to Minnesota to donate his kidney to his younger sister, Katie.
A dozen years Mike's junior, Katie Collins underwent a liver transplant around a decade ago, which, in the process of saving of liver cost her a kidney.
“About two years ago, I had to see the nephrologist at The Mayo [Clinic], ” Katie told KARD-TV. “And, [the doctor] said, ‘You’re going to need a kidney transplant, probably sooner than later. I would suggest you start looking for a living donor,'” Katie recalls. “I was like, ‘How do you ask someone to give you a kidney?'”
Mike and the siblings' other sister, Cherie, were tested and came back matches, but Mike's kidney was the better of the two. Katie had to be weaned off her liver medication, and Mike had to coach through the 2019 season before his kidney could go into his Katie's body.
“You want to be able to make sure she has the ability to live as long as she can live, ” Mike said. You really have the key to the treasure. It might be gratifying as it is anything else that you can help. That’s what we are, we’re givers.”
A former ULM center, Collins played and coached for his father, former ULM head coach Pat Collins. Collins has spent the majority of his career in his native Louisiana. He helped McNeese reach the 1997 Division I-AA national championship game and served as an intern on LSU's 2003 national championship team, then returned to his alma mater as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2016.