Pop Warner Football Coach in need of a new kidney

By Andy Wontor, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 05, 2017, 12:48 PM EDT

Coach Ephraim Clarke is loved on the football field. Volunteering as a coach in the Winter Park Pop Warner organization for nearly 10 years now, he cherishes every second.

“I have a total of 26 kids and we are all one big family out here,” explains Coach Clarke.

Clarke first started coaching when his own boys suited up. But as they moved on to play at Winter Park High School, Ephraim couldn’t imagine giving up his passion.

“As long as I have a breath in my body I’ll be out here helping the kids.”

This past February that dedication was challenged. Unable to sleep and not feeling well, Clarke went to the hospital for answers.  That’s when he was told his kidney was failing and he needed a replacement.

“The first time they told me I was going to be diagnosed with renal failure, it was a kickback, I was like ah man, why me,” said Clarke. “It’s been a life changing thing.”

Clarke now spends eight hours a day on dialysis with a catheter in his stomach allowing him to take the medication from home. In need of a new kidney, the 37-year old has two options; wait to move up the transplant list or actively search out a living donation. And the man who balances coaching with a full time job isn’t the type to do nothing.

“Organ donation is a very, very beautiful thing if you are willing to do it. It helps guys like me out.”

The Pop Warner organization has rallied around their Coach, not only helping Ephraim spread the word on his kidney search but setting up fundraisers and a GoFundMe account as well.

In the meantime, there is no place Ephraim would rather be than out at practice. His two sons Alex and Marcus join him on the field in coaching duties. His wife Shawn is the team Mom, although she admits her attention is now a bit divided.

“I’m all over the place here,” said Shawn. “Certain times of the day I have to make sure he gets his medication during practice, so that routine right there is totally different now.”

When asked if there was ever a point in time that the Clarkes considered not coaching this season, Shawn just smiled as she said, “No, this is our life, this is what we do all the time. Keeps us sane.”


****if you would like to help Coach Clarke as he searches for a kidney, visit his GoFundMe page or consider making a living kidney donation. Ephraim Clarke is registered for a kidney at Florida Hospital.