SUNNYVALE, CA – A California high-school wrestler is asking the state to postpone their high school wrestling championships after being diagnosed with a highly contagious form of skin herpes.
Seventeen-year-old Blake Flovin, of Sunnyvale, has herpes gladiatorum, also called “mat herpes.” It’s one of the most infectious forms of the disease and is spread by skin-to-skin contact and saliva. Once you get it, it stays in your system for life.
Flovin says he thinks he got the disease during a recent meet and that it has ended his wrestling career. Now, he wants to keep other wrestlers from getting it. He believes the problem comes from the fact that students continue to wrestle after they are infected, and then hide their diagnoses so they can still compete.
Flovin’s family contacted the public health department, but herpes is not on the state list of communicable diseases that must be reported.
According to a local news station, a recent nationwide study found wrestlers to have the highest number of skin infections among high school athletes. The study, published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, determined 73.6 percent of skin infections occurred during wrestling.
No word yet from the California Interscholastic Federation.