Iowa High School Mourns Wrestler Who Collapsed During Match and Died

Austin Roberts AP
Spencer, IA

An Iowa high school district mourns the loss of a wrestler who died after a match over the weekend.

Spencer High School’s Austin Roberts, 18, collapsed during the match and died at a local hospital a few hours later.

What surprised officials and onlookers alike was that the bout went along without the sort of violent moves that might have caused the wrestler some kind of physical harm.

“Not a single thing,” Sioux Center coach Aaron 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.”

But according to Fox Sports, after going out of bounds the teenager seemed to struggle to catch his breath as the competitors returned to the center circle. Roberts soon asked for an injury time out but collapsed soon afterward.

Spencer High released a statement from his coaches on the loss.

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. He enjoyed many other things than sports including cars, trucks, motorcycles and snowmobiles…. 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. There is was no mistaking who Austin was through his appearance at 6’4″ and 220 pounds of pure muscle on the mat. In his matches his intensity attracted all eyes in the gym. Win or lose, Austin was still the same young man; one with a kindness unmatched by anyone.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound, 18-year-old was also a defensive tackle on the school football team.

A GoFundMe page has been started to help the family defray the hospital and funeral costs. Thus far the page has raised almost $40,000.

“The Spencer High School and Northwest Iowa Athletic Community tragically lost one of their own,” the page reads. “At the Spencer Invitational Wrestling Tournament on December 19th, Senior Austin Roberts collapsed on the wrestling mat and later passed away at Spencer Hospital. The Spencer Tailtwisters are sponsoring this page to help Austin’s family with medical and funeral expenses.”

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