Monday, December 21, 2015

High school wrestler collapses on mat during tournament and dies

Friends, family and teammates were left wondering what happened to an Iowa high school wrestler who collapsed on the mat during a tournament and died at the hospital after he was unable to be resuscitated.

Spencer High School senior Austin Roberts fell to the mat Saturday at the Spencer Invitational Wrestling Tournament and died after he was taken to Spencer Hospital.

The 18-year-old Roberts, also a star player on the Tigers football team, was tied during his 220-pound championship match with Sioux Center's Ko Kieft when he took injury time late in the third period and then lost by injury default when he could not continue to wrestle. 

Sioux Center Coach Aaron Schmidt indicated it wasn't obvious there was a major problem with Roberts until he collapsed on the mat a short while later, according to the Sioux City Journal

"It seemed like he was not quite able to catch his breath," said Schmidt. "It wasn't anything that was alarming or anything serious at that point.

"The third period started and he just went down and never got back up."

About 100 students and other community members gathered at the hospital while Roberts was being treated and went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church after he was pronounced dead at 9 pm.

Football coach Jim Tighe said Roberts "was engaging" and that "you couldn't help but like him."

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the boy's family cover medical and funeral expenses.

The young man's father said that his son had never collapsed before, reported NBC News

"He never had any warning signs. We don't understand what happened," said the wrestler's dad. "One minute he was competing for the championship and was doing fine." 

The 6-foot-4 Roberts began wrestling in seventh grade and placed in the Class 2A state tournament last year in his first appearance at the state level, taking eighth at 220 pounds.

R.I.P. young man.

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