Former Pittsburgh Steeler to sue team over injections he says hastened kidney disease
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chris Kemoeatu lived the dream. Now, he's living a nightmare.
The Kahuku native enjoyed a standout collegiate football career at the University of Utah as an offensive lineman, and joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 as a sixth round pick.
His rookie year, the team won the Super Bowl; they did it again in 2008.
What Kemoeatu didn't know, claims his attorney Michael Green, was that his kidney was a ticking time bomb -- and the Steelers knew it all along.
"He had a protein leak," Green said. "He had a kidney problem when he was younger and the team knew when they did the blood work that he had a protein leak from his kidney."
By 2011, one of Kemoeatu's kidney had begun to fail, forcing him into retirement.
He was in need of a transplant, and received one from older brother Ma'ake in 2014.
The older brother, a Super Bowl winner with the Ravens at defensive tackle, voluntarily retired from the NFL to give his kidney to his brother.
Both are doing OK, but on medication for the rest of their lives.
Green says it all could -- and should -- have been avoided.
Over the course of his career, Kemoeatu received repeated injections of Toradol, an anti-inflammatory prescription drug that has been known to cause renal problems. Green says the Steelers injected Kemoeatu without ever discussing the possible long-term repercussions.
"The team knew it, but never told him and they kept shooting him up until, 'you know what, you could die' ... really?" Green said.
The remedy for Kemoeatu now?
"We're going to sue everybody in sight who had anything to do with injecting this kid young man, knowing he was in danger to begin with." Green said.
Green is partnering with attorneys in Houston and will file the case in Maryland in the next 60 days.
Both brothers are flying to Detroit in the coming weeks to have full body scans.
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