T Nation

Flex Wheeler


Not that most of us could care any less about professional bodybuilding, but...

Flex just had a kidney transplant after suffering from kidney failure recently. I've read interviews where he claims that his lifestyle choices including drug use and diet are responsible for his health problems. This is in contrast to Tom Prince who, as far as I can tell is in denial that anythng other than bad luck caused his kidney problems. Is Flex finished with bodybuilding? Heck no. He wants to come back to compete natural. Of course, we must assume that by natural he means without drugs, but the last time he made a comback he claimed to be natural and then admitted to drug use, but of course it was just "replacement therapy."

So, the question is, do you think that people that abuse drugs or alcohol or heck, abuse their body in any other way deserve to receive organs from donors when there are many other people out there who deserve them and haven't brought their health problems on themselves? Micky Mantle is another good example.

Add to this is the possibility that Flex might risk his newfound health with further steroid abuse. What a candidate for the Darwin awards.

And once again, what about a Deadpool update, guys?

Bodybuilding icon reflects after life-saving surgery

Written by: Jim Schmaltz

On September 16, Flex Wheeler underwent a kidney transplant at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California.. At press time, the operation had been deemed a success, and the 37-year-old was resting comfortably in the hospital.

Wheeler, whose massive renal failure forced his retirement from the sport earlier this year, was the recipient of an organ donated by a member of his church, the International Church of Christ in Los Angeles.

?This is more than a second chance,? Wheeler said from his hospital bed, days after the surgery. ?It?s deeper than that. Now, I know that God really loves me, and how important He is in my life.?

It?s a measure of the selfless charity of the donor that she did not want her name mentioned. This remarkable person is a 32-year-old woman, who was willing to put her life on the line to help a fellow human being in need.

?Others from my church also offered to be donors, but she was a perfect match,? said Wheeler, who voice choked with emotion as he spoke of the donor. ?She?s an incredible person. I?m very grateful. It is a gift from God.?

Wheeler is eager to be released from the hospital and resume his career in bodybuilding but not onstage. He?ll attend the Mr. Olympia on October 25, where he plans to cover the contest for a competing magazine.


I like Flex, and I admire him for several reasons, but no, no one who's consciously abused their bodies deserves to receive organ transplants if there are others waiting in line.

Of course, maybe the woman who gave him the kidney wouldn't have donated it to anyone else. In that case, I have no problem with it, cause no one else is losing out.

Personally, I hope that he does stay natural (or as close as possible) and shows everyone what a really good physique can look like without all the other crap that the pros put into their bodies.


I have no sypmpathy for him. He flooded his body with roids and probably ate truckloads of KFC and other shit in the offseason. I'm sure he knew the risks. If he didn't he's a bigger idiot than George W. Bush.


So how does doing large amounts of illegal drugs and posing in a thong and God knows what else pro bodybuilders do jive with his church's philosophies? The "Christian" pro bodybuilders have always confounded me.

He took these risks, and some woman is dumb enough to support it. Both points are sad. Maybe it's an outreach program or something? "Need a kidney?"


God i hope my kidneys dont fall out because i eat KFC too.


You know, people like Tom Prince deserve a good beating. He criticized the hell out of T-Mag for including him in Dead Pool, claiming that T-Mag doesn't know shit about him or bodybuilding and then when his kidneys shut down and his doctors tell him he needs to stay out of the gym and recover, what does he do? He goes back to the gym, never skipping a beat. He says that the bodybuilding lifestyle is what has kept him healthy to this point, so he's sticking ot it. Sounds like Lee Priest who hits the leg press machine on the way home from the hospital.

Nobody talks about this nonsense. Nobody wants to drop the turd in the punch bowl. It's pathetic. I guess without bodybuilding, guys like this would be digging ditches, so they're not exactly the smartest people to begin with.


Jared, that's a good point. Flex has been quite the born again Christian. Nothing wrong with that if he's not being hypocritical and I hope he's not. The guy has amazing genetics to begin with, so to me it's a shame that he felt the need in the first place to go as far as he did with abusing himself. What a waste. Without the steroid abuse in the pro ranks, I have no doubt Flex could have been the best around.


Prince is very well aware of what caused his problems and is actually doing a series of articles for Flex about his medical problems and how he is training and dieting now that he's natural. It should be an interesting read.

Flex did abuse his body but his renal problems were inherited. Of course, that could be even more of a reason to abuse him. It would seem that you wouldn't go to such lengths when you know it could come back and bite you big time. Doesn't stop the vast majority of people though.


Nice, Ross, couldn't resist dropping ole dubya's name into the mix. We got lots of other threads (too many) where you can toss around your contempt for the president...

As for Flex, the first thing that popped into my mind was how sad it is that professional bodybuilding has deteriorated from the healthful pursuit it started out as in the 50's, to the debacle it has become.

What was once dirty laundry that was deliberately swept under the carpet by the Weider Brothers et al is now laying bare and open for all to see, in all it's ugliness.

Gee, Ben and Joe, wonder if this open sore should have been properly administered to years ago, in an attempt to stop the downward spiral of this sport to it's present state?


MR, I didn't realize that Prince has come clean. I read some of the things he had to say when his problems arose and he didn't seem to aknowledge anything as a cause other than his kidneys just shutting down. So, we have 2 kidney failures in one year, a coma and three tricep tears (haha, just throwing that in, but is interesting to note that Burke's coma was a result of anathesia administered when he was having surgery to repair a torn tricep) and 2 top amateur deaths.

I know that Flex claims to have an inherited problem with his kidneys, but I'm starting to question all these guys who claim to have an inherited heart ailment, inherited kidney ailment etc. Seems funny that so many of these guys have inherited organ defects. Far more, it seems, than you'd find in the general population.


Doesn't this remind you of the whole "Dennis Neuman" situation that happened years ago?? I just don't think these guys are smart enough to realize what a second chance means...? It certainly hasn't helped the whole IFBB opens its eyes and put down some hardcore rules that actually might get this sport under control.


Pro bodybuilding is not for normal people- it's for guys (and semi-guys in the women's pro classes)who are willing to take enormous amounts of drugs, have surgery, inject oils into their muscle tissue, jump out of cakes at gay birthday parties and stand half naked and greased up for the viewing entertainment of others.
Why should we be surprised that they behave differently when confronted with health problems?
As for the donor, she obviously made a choice of her own free will- it's not like he got a kidney that was harvested from an accident victim or something.


I forgot about Don Long's kidney transplant of a year or so ago. Didn't he claim an inherited kidney problem? Put 25 people in a room. What are the chances that 3 of them will have kidney failure in a year?


How about Profesional Bodybuilders donating their own kidneys/organs??? They proclaim to be so healthy in so many ways....
This way the "PRO" would know that they are getting a "healthy" kidney from a friendly competitor! :slight_smile:


That's a good suggestion. I'm sure Mr. Prince would have liked to have gotten his hands on the late Dan Duchaine's kidneys, but I recall that he too had a "genetic kidney ailment", so that might not have worked.

I suppose it's lucky for Ruhl and Levrone that tricep tears have sidelined them or else they too might be in line for a transplant of some kind before to long. How about brain transplants for these guys?

With Weider out of the game now, it'd sure be a good time to clean up the "sport."


Dan Duchaine had polycystic kidney disease. No need to put genetic kidney disease in quotes. His was legit.


Dan was still quite the chemist, Doc and I'd be surprised if that didn't play a part in his early demise.