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Gymnastics Coach Saves Father’s Life by Donating Kidney in a Noble Gesture

Published 05/21/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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Sarah Shire Brown, head gymnastics coach of Penn State University, has guided the women’s gymnastics team to win a multitude of accolades. Under her mentorship, the Nittany Lions not only garnered stalwart rankings on the NCAA boards, but she also helped the team shine on bars through her guidance. However, apart from receiving a hoard full of success on her professional front, she also stood atop the podium through her noble gesture on her personal front.

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In April 2022, Brown’s father, David Shire, got diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure. Medical experts made the Brown family aware of the pressing need for a transplant. Nonetheless, as the family’s search for a donor went in vain, the Penn State Coach stepped up to help her dad recover.

Sarah Shire Brown’s virtuous gesture


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Recently, the Penn State head coach sat down with Gymnastics Now and shared several tidbits about her kidney-transplant journey. Initially, the family looked for the right donor for Mr. David Shire, but getting him on the list proved to be one tedious task for the clan. Hence, Brown said to herself, “I’m going to donate the kidney to him”. She went through the testing process and underwent several psychological evaluations. Eventually, in February 2023, Brown finally got the test results, conceding she was the perfect match.

However, before walking into the Operation theatre, Brown made sure to guide the Nittany Lions to the NCAA nationals. Hence, after wrapping the Nationals on April 16th, the head coach admitted herself to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis for a transplant operation on April 20th. Handling the whole situation with absolute finesse, she first mentored her team in nationals and then helped her dad recover from a chronic crisis.


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Brown guided the Nittany Lions to six championships

Sarah Shire Brown was elected as the eighth head coach of Penn State University on May 4th, 2017. Interestingly, Brown is a two-time Big 12 Conference gymnast of the year. Hence, her expertise in the field helped the women’s gymnastics team at Penn State to soar high on the beam. In 2021, the Nittany Lions finished 33rd in Road To Nationals Rankings under Brown’s guidance

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Along similar lines, the head coach once again paved the way for the Nittany Lions toward the 2023 Road To Nationals. Though she is still recovering from her surgery, she remains optimistic. Sarah Shire Brown lives by the quote, “If you stress about something before it happens, then you essentially have to live it twice. You live the stress, and then you live the reality”.

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Purva Jain

509 articles

Purva Jain is a senior sports writer for Essentially Sports. With her expertise in surfing, Purva has a deep passion for the ocean and a love for the thrill of big waves. Author of ‘Gold and Brown’, ‘Chasing the North Star’ and ‘Light Beneath the Shadows’, Purva idolizes Kelly Slater, taking to heart his famous quote, "There's always a wave you want to surf.

Edited By: Anupama Ghosh