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Becker High wrestler in good spirits after collapsing during state tournament

Updated: March 01, 2020 11:39 PM

Laughter, love and smiles fill Brayden Weber’s hospital room, shining brighter than his sixth-place wrestling medal. 

“He had God on his side that day,” siad Sara Waytashek, Brayden’s mother. “And so many people praying for him.” 

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Brayden is now recovering at Regions Hospital following a frightening ordeal. Just after he was pinned during a match Saturday at the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament, he suddenly collapsed. 

"I kind of felt like something was off a little bit,” the 17-year-old recalled. “I don’t remember standing up or shaking hands, anything like that. I was walking over to my coaches, and I just hit the ground right in front of their feet.”

His heart had stopped, and his lips had turned blue. Waytashek, sitting in the stands, was frightened, and in disbelief. 

“My husband and I raced down there, and at that point, I kind of saw Brayden lying face down on the mat,” she said. “I thought, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.' It wasn’t like how we expected our day to end.’” 

But it wasn’t the end. 

Several first responders jumped into action. They assessed the young wrestler’s condition, and quickly started CPR measures.After several minutes, Brayden was revived. 

As emergency personnel took him out on a stretcher, he gave a thumbs up to the crowd. 

“There’s no sound in that arena, there’s just dead silence,” he said. “I just gave it a thumbs up, and everybody started screaming, so it was good to let everybody know I was OK.” 

The Webers are certainly thankful Brayden is alive, but now they are faced with a medical mystery: Why would an apparently healthy 17-year-old’s heart suddenly stop? 

The family says Brayden had no pre-existing conditions. They wonder if this episode was triggered earlier, when he bumped heads with his wrestling opponent. 

“All my tests so far have come back totally fine,” Brayden said. “My heart looks good, my bloodwork’s good — everything like that. So they’re thinking it has to do with the head.”

He scheduled to get MRIs on both his heart and his head on Monday. 

Meanwhile, several other wrestlers are showing support for Brayden by writing messages of goodwill on a poster Waytashek made. 

“Get better soon, all prayers, champ,” one note said.

“I know you’ll be back, even stronger,” said another. 

Brayden says, yes, he wants to wrestle again. 

“If I’m cleared to go, I’m going back out there next year, for sure,” he said with a smile.  

But first, he and his family say they would like to meet and thank the emergency personnel who came to the rescue.  

“I would like to know who those folks are, because they basically saved my son,” Waytashek said. “I can’t even express it. That’s something a mother or a parent never wants to see. I will be forever grateful to those people.” 

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