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Nebraska Wrestler Peyton Robb Battling Rare, Life-Threatening Skin Infection Necrotizing Fasciitis

Photo by Nebraska Athletics: Peyton Robb Wrestling vs Wisconsin

Update (10:07 p.m.)—

Nebraska wrestler Peyton Robb is dealing with a life-threatening infection called necrotizing fasciitis.

Robb is battling and has been in the hospital for almost two weeks.


According to the CDC, this is a “rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.”

“Accurate diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgery are important to stopping this infection,” the CDC’s website says.

Robb’s story is explained on a fundraising campaign page created by “friends of the Robb family.”

“Peyton was finally diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis,” the page reads. “An extremely rare infection that sees a couple hundred cases in the United States per year and has been as low as 70 cases in recent years past. Even with treatment, 1 in 5 people die of this rare infection. Peyton has been in the hospital since the NCAA tournament and will stay there until his white blood count has returned to normal. The doctors have him scheduled for one more debridement surgery, with the hopes that this will be the last.”

According to the page, Robb “noticed a very large bruise on his shin” March 17, the day of the NCAA Semifinals.

Robb wrestled Penn State’s Levi Haines that night, losing a 5-3 decision.

The next day, Robb weighed in to compete for third place. During warmups, he was “having a very difficult time breaking a sweat,” according to the page.

”His bruise was now extremely tender but nothing he hadn’t experienced before,” the page reads. “He was supposed to get tough, that’s what’s expected from elite wrestlers.”

The page explains that even though Robb didn’t feel himself, he continued to wrestle.

“He wanted to finish what he started. He walked out onto the mat for his match and upon its completion he started vomiting and shaking uncontrollably.”

Robb was then taken to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, strep cellulitis, on his shin. After getting an antibiotic, Robb was released from the emergency room and was able to return to Nebraska with his team the next day. But he “continued to have difficulty keeping down any food or drink.”

“When the team was dropped off, his girlfriend (Taylor) brought him home, but soon things took a bad turn.”

On March 19, Robb was rushed to the ER and the next morning, he was admitted to the hospital.

“His heart rate was very high, blood pressure extremely low and the pain in his leg was very severe.”

Robb received lV antibiotics over the next couple of days among what the page described as “a host of other treatments to help his body fight the internal chaos.”

“Unfortunately, the infection led to sepsis in his blood and further testing revealed he likely had blood clots in his lungs.”

From there, Robb started on blood thinners, which “provided relief from his labored breathing,” the page reads, but “the leg infection was intensifying.”

For the next few days, Robb’s body continued to fight, and the doctors continued to assistant him however they could. Although Robb’s vitals were getting better, according to the page, “the swelling in his leg was not.”

After a week in the hospital, the swelling started to improve.

But as the swelling calmed down, doctors saw black spots on Robb’s leg.

“A sign of the tissue dying inside his body,” the page read.

The doctor who saw this took action and demanded Robb get the next available surgical bed.

“He told his parents, Tracey and Carrie, that he would need to remove as much tissue (skin, fascia and muscle), as necessary from Peyton’s leg until the necrosis (dead tissue) was dealt with, and I quote, ‘or your son could die.’”

Robb went into surgery over the following couple of hours. After the procedure, doctors told the Robb family that skin, fascia and portions of muscle from Robb’s tibialis anterior, which is next to the shin, would need cut out.

Robb then had to undergo surgeries for the next couple of days to get rid of any continuing  necrotic tissue.

After Robb’s third surgery in three days, he was in “excruciating pain with two gaping incisions on each side of his shin bone.” From there, he was transferred to a Lincoln, Nebraska, hospital that has a specialized burn unit. The pain started to be managed, but surgeries were now required, although they were now every other day, not every day.

“As the doctors cut more of the dead tissue out of his leg, his blood markers began to improve and he started winning the fight against this infection,” the page read. “He regained his appetite and he’s smiling again!”

The page ended with this.

Peyton has a great attitude and has been a warrior through all of this. His parents have been in town (and at the hospital) with him daily for the past 2 weeks and Taylor has been a huge support for him as well. His Husker teammates and coaches have been in to visit and support him, as well as his athletic trainer (Tyler Weeda) who has been almost living at the hospital with him through this time.

We want to tell the Robb’s story to let everyone in the wrestling community know what they have been living these past few weeks. If you feel led, we’d like to extend an invitation for you to support them. Between the toll this has taken on the families time and resources, Peyton will not be able to do any sort of work (wrestling or otherwise) for the foreseeable future while he recovers. We are asking the wrestling community to get involved and help us fundraise our goal of $25K to help Peyton and the Robb family through this emergent health trial. Every dollar raised will go directly to the Robb family. The family also believes in the power of prayer, we ask everyone to please keep Peyton in your prayers. There are a lot of unknowns, but we know that this fundraiser can relieve some of the financial burden placed on the Robb family in this unfortunate situation. We greatly appreciate your support and we hope that you all gain encouragement through Peyton’s resilience and spirit. Thank you all and God bless!

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