High school wrestler diagnosed with ‘mat herpes’ asks officials to postpone state championships

CREDIT: NBC Bay Area

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (WCMH)–A California student-athlete says his wrestling career is over after he contracted a highly contagious form of herpes during a match.

Now, 17-year-old Blake Flovin is asking the state to postpone this weekend’s championship meet until officials can determine how many other athletes may have been exposed, NBC Bay Area reports.

Flovin has herpes gladiatorum, which is commonly called “mat herpes.” It’s one of the most infectious forms of the disease. “Mat herpes” is spread by skin-to-skin contact and saliva. It remains in the body for life.

Flovin told NBC Bay Area that he believes he contracted the virus during a recent meet in San Jose.

CREDIT: NBC Bay Area
CREDIT: NBC Bay Area

“I’m never gonna wrestle again,” he said.

The teen is worried that more athletes will get infected, so he and his parents sent a letter asking the California Interscholastic Federation to postpone this weekend’s state championship.

“I don’t want other kids to get this,” Flovin told NBC Bay Area. “It’s not worth it to put the wrestlers at risk when this is totally preventable.”

Herpes is not on California’s list of communicable diseases that must be reported.

Flovin said he’s seen student-athletes wrestle while infected, and try to hide their diagnoses.

“I’ve definitely seen kids with makeup on different sores or whatnot, trying to hide it from the refs when they do the skin check,” he said.

Flovin’s mom, Rena, said she simply wants parents to know the risks. She said it’s something she never understood.

“As a parent, I would want to know about it, and we were never notified,” she told NBC Bay Area. “I’m hoping that things change. The protocols change, because it’s a livelong disease that our son’s got to deal with now.”

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