A Spencer high school wrestler has died after sustaining an injury during a championship match in a tournament. The coach for the 18-year-old Austin Roberts did not seem to think the injury was unusual or alarming at the time, but after the senior collapsed on the wrestling mat, Roberts was later taken to the hospital where he died. The cause of death has yet to be announced, but a GoFundMe fundraiser account is currently trying to help the family during their time of need.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, after a high school football player in New Jersey collapsed and died on the field, many scrutinized the injury stats for high school players.
Austin Roberts was a returning state medalist with plenty of experience as a high school-level wrestler. During the Spencer Invitational, the senior was wrestling Sioux Center’s Ko Kieft in the 220-pound title match. Roberts was doing well until the final minute of the match when he fell to the match after a stoppage in action.
According to The Des Moines Register, Sioux Center coach Aaron Schmidt said the Spencer wrestler seemed to be unable to catch his breath after sustaining the injury.
“There was about 30 seconds left and the score was tied and they went out of bounds,” Schmidt explained. “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. Then injury time was up and there was a good, classy exchange at the end of the match and we were hoping he was all right. At that point, he seemed to just be unable to catch his breath.”
Flowers, balloons on steps of Spencer High School as community mourns death of standout sr. wrestler Austin Roberts. pic.twitter.com/8O8Tw4779B
— Chris Neyenhouse (@NeyenhouseTV) December 21, 2015
The injury time eventually expired, so Roberts was unable to continue the match. After losing by injury default, Roberts was able to meet his opponent to shake hands. Even by this point, Schmidt did not suspect that Roberts had sustained a serious injury.
“Not a single thing,” Schmidt said. “No slam, no hit heads, nothing. It was about as clean and classy as can be. It was one of those matches people would’ve continued to watch at the state tournament if it had been down there.”
After Roberts collapsed on the wrestling mat, an emergency response team took him to the Spencer Hospital. According to the Sioux City Journal, Spencer high school’s head football coach, Jim Tighe, said that over 100 kids had gathered to offer for their fallen champion. But it was around 9 PM Saturday when the Spencer wrestler died from his injuries. Mayor Reynold Peterson said Austin Roberts’ death was a tragic loss for the community.
“He was a fine young individual in the community and school,” Reynolds said. “There’s been a tremendous response; it has been a total shock.”
Spencer’s wrestling coaches Adam Gress and Ryan Pratt also released a statement about the Spencer wrestler’s death.
“Austin Roberts was a larger than life character. He had a large heart with a personality that could light up the room. We have had the great opportunity to watch Austin grow in recent years from a young child to mature young adult. His attitude about wrestling and football was second only to his attitude about life,” they said. “Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with his family — Travis, Lori, Melany and Shae as they cope with this tragic loss. Thank you to everyone who has shown their support across the state and the nation, the wrestling family is one of a kind.”
— Sioux City Journal (@scj) December 7, 2015
A GoFundMe fundraiser page has been set up by the Spence Tailtwister in order to help the Roberts family pay for medical and funeral expenses. As of this publishing, they have raised over $24,000, although the original goal for the fundraiser was only $10,000.
[Photo by Michael Dinneen/AP Images]