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'I'm Healthy Again': Former Raven Lional Dalton Gets Kidney Transplant & Second Chance At Life

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Twenty-year-old memories of Super Bowl 35 seem like just yesterday for Lional Dalton.

To survive eight years as a pro, you have to be able to fight. Last January, he found out just how strong he was when he found himself at the Hospital.

Having dealt with blood pressure issues in the past, he knew it was serious. But this time, it was his kidneys -- they were failing.

"After running tests and a biopsy on my kidney and my blood work, they said my kidneys were only functioning at 17 percent," Dalton told WJZ while on a zoom call. The sun is beaming through the window shades behind him. "I needed emergency dialysis."

They were functioning at only 17 percent, well below the standard of 90. Dalton had end-stage kidney disease and needed a transplant.

"I'm thinking there's a chance I might die anytime in the near future so I called my wife to make sure my things were in order," he said. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead as he told his story.

Over a year and a half later, he got the call. Johns Hopkins found a donor.

"I remember praying that I wake up and I remember praying that this kidney takes and I can get back to life again as normal as possible," he said.

Dr. Russell Wesson from Johns Hopkins Medicine performed the surgery.

"He required somewhat of a needle in the haystack kind of kidney and the right match came up for him so he was fortunate to get it," said Wesson.

"When I used the restroom for the very first time, I almost cried," Dalton laughs. "I was like, "It's working! I'm healthy again!" I shed a few tears with the wife. I'm not going to lie!"

A blessing for Dalton as people often wait years for a kidney transplant. He now gets his second chance.

When Dalton spoke with WJZ Reporter Max McGee this afternoon, he listed all of his accolades and asked him "who is he now?" He said nobody ever asked him that before! But he's a guy who gets another shot to get the best out of people.

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