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Athlete Wants Steps Taken To Prevent Wrestler Diseases

Hospital Bed

File Photo Of A Hospital Bed. (AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A northwest suburban high school wrestler says nobody should go through what he went through this past wrestling season–dealing with three preventable diseases he picked up during wrestling meets.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports

“It was a giant cluster of pimples and it kept on spreading throughout my face,” said Rocky, who is 17.

Rocky is describing the symptoms of herpes gladiatorum. It is known as wrestlers herpes and is one of the most infectious of herpes-caused diseases. It’s often transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Rocky believes he contracted it from a wrestling mat.

“I gave my friend herpes,” Rocky said.

He also picked up two bacterial infections–MRSA and impetigo.

“I can’t let it bring me down,” said Rocky, who said he views his medical conditions as battle scars.

His mother had a different view: “It scares you. You could lose your child because he is doing something he enjoys. These kids are getting diseases that they can’t get rid of.”

She said schools need to do more to prevent the infections.

Jack Wagner’s company, Micro Scientific, has been disinfecting medical equipment for 30 years. He says schools are not using cleaning agents properly.

He said the athletic industry need to follow strict medical guidelines to disinfect people and equipment.

His company is now working to treat wrestlers and their equipment.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Wagner said.