Originally created 01/13/02

Ninth-grade wrestler dies



CHASKA, Minn. -- A ninth-grade wrestler died Saturday after apparently having a seizure during a wrestling match.

Dennis Kingsbury, 14, became unresponsive about 30 seconds into his match, said John Kingsbury, the boy's father. Dennis wrestled for St. Croix Lutheran High School in West St. Paul. The team was competing at a tournament in Chaska.

Paul Kassulke, a St. Croix assistant coach, said the referee stopped the match when Dennis' opponent put him into an illegal headlock. The referee stopped the match to award Dennis a point for the infraction, then noticed Dennis was lying unresponsive on the mat.

"He went over too easy with no resistance," John Kingsbury said. "The other wrestler knew something was wrong and broke the hold."

Kassulke said it didn't appear Dennis hit his neck awkwardly on the mat.

"I saw his eyes find of fixed and staring," he said. "His teeth were kind of clenched, there was a little bit of trembling."

Chaska Police Department spokesman Jon Kehrberg said the wrestler was in full cardiac arrest when emergency units arrived. He died at St. Francis Regional Hospital in Shakopee after CPR attempts were unsuccessful.

Kehrberg said the cause of death was unknown. Police expected autopsy results next week.

"The other guy was not to blame on this at all. The official did a good job of getting in the way," Kassulke said.

John Kingsbury said his son, who also played football, had been in good health and the cause of death didn't appear to be wrestling-related.

"He just had a physical two months ago. He was fine. He could run three or four miles without being winded," John Kingsbury said.



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