12-year-old Kent club wrestler battles staph infection

Brycen Dawley receiving treatment at Seattle Children’s

Brycen Dawley. COURTESY PHOTO, gofundme.com

Brycen Dawley. COURTESY PHOTO, gofundme.com

When his 12-year-old son injured his ankle and had a foot that felt like it was on fire after a match at a national wrestling tournament in Colorado, Shawn Dawley knew something had to be done quickly.

The wait at the local hospital was two to three hours, so Dawley found an early flight back to Seattle on June 26. His wife met them at the airport and they went straight to St. Anne Hospital in Burien. Doctors examined Brycen Dawley, who also battled a fever, and decided he needed to go that same day to Seattle Children’s.

“He had a broken ankle and a staph infection,” said Shawn Dawley during a July 1 phone interview. “The staph infection went to his ankle and that’s where the heat was coming in and the (body) temperature.”

Brycen Dawley wrestles for the Mat Demon Wrestling Club in Kent, where his father coaches. Jess Torres, president of the club and also a coach, has organized a gofundme.com account for the Dawley family to help with medical expenses as doctors try to rid Brycen Dawley of the infection. The goal is to raise $20,000. The fund had $7,626 as of July 2.

“Our wrestling community would like to help the family with medical costs and work time lost for his parents,” Torres said. “Coach Shawn is always the one giving his time and financial resources, and now we’d like to help his family.”

Brycen Dawley, a student at St. Francis Catholic School in Burien, remained in the hospital as of July 1, with a release date still to be determined. Even when released, it appears he will need a full-time nurse at home to help with his treatment.

“We are hoping to get him out of the hospital and get in-home care,” said Shawn Dawley, who has traded off shifts with his wife to be at the hospital with their son.

The infection apparently started when Brycen Dawley had a blister removed from his foot.

“The staph infection has been in his body or month or more and is eating him up,” his father said.

Doctors have drilled holes in his bones in an effort to get rid of the infection.

“The bad thing is Brycen is allergic to penicillin and that’s one of the main antibiotics to kill the infection,” Shawn Dawley said.

The Mat Demon Club opened in Kent in 2015 along Central Avenue South. Nearly 70 young wrestlers compete for the club, a few from as far away as Olympia, but most are from the Kent, Auburn and Federal Way areas.

Shawn Dawley was a state champion wrestler at Auburn High School in 1992 after winning Cadet Greco Roman and Cadet Freestyle national titles in 1991. He won a California Community College Athletic Association state title with Sierra College (near Sacramento) in 1994.

Brycen Dawley started wrestling at age 5 and competes in the 70-pound division for his age group. He’s a popular kid at the club.

“He’s like a big brother to younger kids,” Shawn Dawley said. “He’ll do extra stuff with them to help them get better, be in their corner for them, and talk abut what they can do better. He does a lot for the kids and tries to make everybody as good as he is.”


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