The Sound of Silence

By Brian Jerzak

Sometimes silence is a terrible sound. During the 2020 Class AA state wrestling semifinals, the more than 12,000 parents, fans, athletes, coaches, referees, and staff members sat in complete silence. Mats were not reloaded as matches finished. The only sound was a referee's whistle as the surrounding matches were completed. Even before the mats cleared, all eyes focused – not on a match - but on a corner mat where there had been no wrestling for several minutes.

When the other matches completed, the only sound I could personally hear was the sound of a couple of grown men quietly sobbing behind me. We all sat in stunned silence - staring at the group of emergency responders working behind some makeshift walls held up by workers.

I have no idea how long the Xcel Energy Center remained silent. The cheer that went up when Becker's Brayden Weber gave the crowd a thumbs-up as he was being rolled away by the paramedics was more powerful and heartfelt than any during the entire weekend.

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Becker wrestler Brayden Weber doing well — and hopes to play football and wrestle again — after heart procedure

Brayden Weber sounded like a typical teenager on summer break when he answered the phone Sunday night.

“I was at the beach all day with my friends today,” he said.

Hard to believe only three days earlier he underwent a heart procedure at Mayo Clinic to fix a defect that caused Weber to collapse and lose consciousness after his semifinal match at the wrestling state championships at Xcel Energy Center in early March.

The rising senior and two-sport standout at Becker High School says he feels “totally normal.” Doctors cleared him to resume physical activity with no restrictions starting next Thursday. His family experienced a wave of relief knowing what caused that frightening moment when he collapsed while walking off the mat. Continue reading at

Becker High wrestler in good spirits after collapsing during state tournament

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,” said Sara Waytashek, Brayden’s mother. “And so many people praying for him.”

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.” View/continue reading at

Medical staff save life of wrestler who collapsed at Minnesota state tournament

The high school junior gave a thumbs-up on his way out of the arena.

Medical staff at the Minnesota state wrestling tournament saved the life of a high school junior who collapsed after a match Saturday in St. Paul.

Brayden Weber, wrestling in the 220-pound weight class and representing Becker High School, reached the semifinal round of the individual tournament where he lost by fall to Orono’s Danny Striggow. Shortly after the match, Weber collapsed. Continue reading at