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20-year-old dies after medical emergency at Seth Rollins' wrestling academy

20-year-old dies after medical emergency at Seth Rollins' wrestling academy

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Authorities are investigating the death of 20-year-old man last week at a Moline gym.

Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said Jonah Snyder, of West Seneca, New York, suffered cardiac arrest last Thursday following a workout at The Black & The Brave Wrestling Academy, a camp run by WWE superstar Seth Rollins. 

“He (Snyder) wasn’t able to keep up, but he kept trying to fight through it,” Gustafson said.

Trainers urged Snyder, a former University at Buffalo student, to take a break and called 911 when they realized something wasn't right.

“After the ambulance got there, his heart rate slowly went down, and they never got him back," Gustafson said. 

First responders “urgently rushed” Snyder from QC CrossFit, 3800 River Drive, to Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus, in Silvis. An autopsy was performed the following day in Rockford, but preliminary results were inconclusive, he said.

Specimens taken during the autopsy will undergo toxicology and histology examinations, which could take weeks to complete.

“I’m trying to figure out what happened in the days and hours prior to his death,” said Gustafson, who noted Snyder was living in Davenport.

When asked to comment on the incident, Rollins, whose real name is Colby Lopez, directed the Quad-City Times to his academy's statement, which was released Wednesday on Twitter.

"It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our student, Jonah Snyder," the statement read. "Jonah loved professional wrestling."

According to the release, Snyder "abruptly fell ill" following a brief fitness drill with his classmates on the first night of the academy's seventh session. 

Lopez and friends launched the program, which offers a 12-week crash course in professional wrestling, in August 2014.

The statement also featured the following excerpt from Snyder's essay that accompanied his application submitted to the wrestling school:

"I live, breath (sic), sleep, and eat wrestling. It's in my blood. I want to learn it so I can travel the world putting a smile on people's faces. I wanna give them hope or something to believe in." 


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Jack Cullen covers health and the outdoors for the Quad-City Times.

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