Ohio University wrestler Austin Reese competes during the 2017-18 season. Photo courtesy of Ohio Media Relations

Mechanicsburg grad ‘doing much better’ after collapsing during college wrestling match

Austin Reese suffered ‘medical complication’ during Sunday’s Ohio University-Old Dominion match

Ohio University wrestler Austin Reese was doing much better Monday, according to his family, after suffering what the university described as a “medical complication” while wrestling Sunday against Old Dominion University in Athens.

According to an eyewitness, the Mechanicsburg High School graduate Reese, a redshirt junior wrestling at 174 pounds, collapsed during his match. He was not breathing and had no heartbeat. CPR and a defibrillator was used to revive Reese. The rest of the match was cancelled.

“Someone there said they had to use the defibrillator twice,” said former Mechanicsburg wrestling coach Brady Hiatt.

Hiatt was driving when he heard from a fellow coach about the incident. His heart rate shot up, he said, and later people who saw the incident from the stands told him it was the scariest thing they had seen in their lives.

“In my mind, it was the asteroid hurtling toward the Earth, the worst scenario possible,” said Hiatt, who coached Reese when he won a state championship in 2014 and is now an assistant junior high coach at Bellefontaine. “When I hear he’s down and they cancelled the dual, I was just hoping I wasn’t going to read a story about an athlete dying on the mat. It’s a tremendous relief that he’s breathing and alive.”

Hiatt visited Reese at Riverside Hospital in Columbus on Sunday night.

“Dang, champ, you gave me a scare,” Hiatt told him.

“Sorry, Coach, but I was really kicking his butt,” Reese said.

Hiatt couldn’t tell anything was wrong with Reese just by looking at him and talking to him but said, “Obviously, something’s not right. They’re trying to figure out what it is.”

Reese’s parents, Dave and Sheri, attended the match Sunday, Hiatt said. Dave Reese, a sergeant with the Urbana Police Department, provided an update on his son on the Ohio wrestling Facebook page late Sunday.

“Austin is doing much better and was actually up and moving around earlier,” David wrote. “I wish I could call back everyone who left messages and texts, but tonight I learned how large and great our wrestling family is. After that tremendous scare he seems completely normal now just tired. Tomorrow they will begin testing to try and find the issue that caused this. As I get updates I will let you know. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers, and great acts of kindness and support.”

On Monday morning, Austin’s brother Kyle provided a similar update on Twitter. He wrote, “He’s doing well and moving around. Thank you for everyone’s support.”

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