Former NBA gentle giant Manute Bol has been hospitalized following a visit in the Sudan where he was working to build a school and fighting for more fair elections. Doctors say he is battling kidney failure and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition which cause the layers of the skin to separate and may necessitate moving Bol to the burn unit
Tom Prichard, who has worked with Bol on building a school in Sudan through the group Sudan Sunrise, said that Bol was returning from several months in Sudan, where his health had deteriorated. Prichard said Bol flew into Dulles and had to stay overnight near the airport before a flight back to his family in Kansas; after friends asked the hotel manager to check on Bol, he was rushed to a local hospital.
Prichard said that Bol has undergone three rounds of dialysis, and that the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome might necessitate a move to a burn unit.
"He's at great risk," Prichard said. "He's in a bad way."
Bol, 47, had been in Sudan to work on his school project, but was asked to stay through the elections this spring, Prichard said. The former center canceled a string of speaking engagements, including an appearance at a Wizards game, to help with the elections in his county, a key electoral region. While Bol was gone, his wife also gave birth to a daughter, whom he has yet to meet.
Prichard said Bol is on morphine and in terrible pain, but is able to talk with visitors and seems to be stabilizing.
"He's pleased that he accomplished what he was so determined to do in Sudan," Prichard said. "He was fighting with every bit of his strength to try to keep Southern Sudan on course towards a referendum in January of next year. … It put him right on the edge of survival, and he made it."