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Muhlenberg College wrestling coach Jake Calhoun undergoes liver transplant

Images of Jake Calhoun as a  Muhlenberg College coach and as a UW-Stevens Point wrestler
Images of Jake Calhoun as a Muhlenberg College coach and as a UW-Stevens Point wrestler
Photos courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, used with permission

College wrestlers and coaches are tough – and independent. However, sometimes even the most rugged mat stars turned coaches could use a helping hand.

Jake Calhoun, former University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point wrestler who took the helm at Muhlenberg College almost exactly one year ago, is now recovering from an emergency liver transplant after collapsing from an outdoor workout… and is seeking assistance in paying for the procedure, his college alma mater revealed Wednesday.

Two months ago, Calhoun traveled to Florida to compete in the Wrestling World Team Trials. After an outdoor workout, the two-time NCAA Division III championships qualifier for the UW-Stevens Point Pointers became extremely dehydrated, suffered a heat stroke, and lost consciousness. This emergency situation on June 12 led to liver failure, acute encephalopathy, and a kidney injury. Doctors said a liver transplant was crucial to his survival.

Calhoun received that lifesaving gift on June 23. However, the transplantation and subsequent recovery process is not only disruptive, but costly. While Calhoun undergoes rehabilitation in Florida, his parents have relocated to be near him and serve as caregivers. In the coming months, he won’t be able to wrestle, but hopes to resume his coaching career.

Now for the costly part. A typical liver transplant costs a half-million dollars – approximately $575,000. Even with insurance, there’s a significant financial burden for those who’ve undergone the procedure like Calhoun. What’s more, Calhoun now faces a lifetime of follow-up care, as well as daily anti-rejection medications.

There are a number of ways that individuals can assist. Friends and families can make an online donation to the Jacob Calhoun Fund at the National Foundation for Transplants website. Donors may also make a tax-deductible contribution by mail to: NFT Florida Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. The NFT asks donors to indicate that the gift is in honor of Jacob Calhoun.