Skin infections lead to wrestling postponements

Associated Press

SEATTLE – The South Puget Sound League has suspended wrestling matches and contact drills until Dec. 21 because of skin infections in wrestlers from three schools.

School officials said the infections involved wrestlers from the Auburn, Lake Washington and Enumclaw high school teams, which competed Dec. 2 in a tournament at Auburn.

Four of the seven meets in the Western Conference 4A and 3A were held as scheduled Thursday night. The Monroe at Everett meet was postponed and the Mukilteo School District postponed Thursday’s meets between Kamiak and Shorewood and Marysville-Pilchuck and Mariner as well as Saturday’s Kamiak Invitational as a precautionary measure, said Kamiak athletic director Tim Mead.

Mead said there were no reported cases of skin infections at any of the schools involved, but some teams invited to Saturday’s meet had had contact with teams that had reported cases.

Mountlake Terrace coach Kanoe Vierra, whose team did wrestle Thursday, said it will be business as usual for his wrestlers until he hears otherwise from a higher power.

“And as of tonight, I haven’t heard anything,” Vierra said.

Snohomish coach Mark Perry said every wrestling coach fears the consequences of uncontrolled outbreaks.

“They’re a negative for the sport and we could lose it in a hurry if we aren’t able to control these type of things,” Perry said.

Perry said Wesco 4A coaches underwent an educational experience when there was an outbreak in their league four years ago.

“We’re twice as cautious, now, and know what we’re dealing with,” Perry said.

Vierra said wrestlers are inspected before every bout and most coaches perform periodic checks, as well.

An Auburn wrestler has been hospitalized with skin lesions, but the nature of the infection has not yet been diagnosed, said Kip Herren, Auburn School District assistant superintendent and former wrestling coach.

“His status is improving,” Herren said.

At least some of the infections involved herpes gladiatorum, a herpes simplex strain that is spread from skin-to-skin contact, and impetigo, caused by a form of staphylococcus.

Herpes gladiatorum can be transmitted only by skin-to-skin contact and has an incubation period of two to 12 days, Herren said.

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