A Spencer, Iowa, high school wrestler died after collapsing to the mat at a tournament in his hometown.
Austin Roberts fell after an injury timeout during the final minute of the 220-pount title match at the Spencer Invitational. Roberts was wrestling an athlete from Sioux Center high school, who had recently accepted a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota.
“There was about 30 seconds left at the score was tied and they went out of bounds,” said Sioux Center wrestling coach Aaron Schmidt. “We came back to the center to get reset and we got set and the Roberts boy asked for injury time and couldn’t seem to quite catch his breath.”
Schmidt said that the match was clean and competitive, and that nothing occurred during the match that would have indicated anything was seriously wrong with Roberts.
“Not a single thing,” Schmidt said. “No slam, no hit heads, nothing.”
According to Schmidt, an emergency response team tended to Roberts at the tournament. A Spencer Hospital spokesperson said that he passed away later that night.
Roberts was a returning state medalist, and a standout athlete who also played on both the offensive and defensive lines on Spencer’s football team.
“Austin Roberts was a larger than life character,” said Spencer’s wrestling coaching staff in a statement released following Roberts’ death. “Through wrestling we saw his personality change from a shy quiet kid into a confident, outgoing person, who others on the team and in the school could look up to. Win or lose, Austin was still the same young man; one with a kindness unmatched by anyone.”
According to USA Today High School Sports, the incident is the first high-school wrestling related death in recent memory.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Roberts family. You can view the account here.