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State Wrestling Tournament Will Go On Despite Mat Herpes Scare

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Organizers say a state wrestling tournament will still go on despite calls for it to be postponed after one wrestler says he got herpes from a wrestling mat.

It started with swollen glands and dozens of sores that spread across Blake Flovin's forehead and face. It's halted his wrestling career, at least for now.

"It's heartbreaking. It's really unnecessary for anybody to get this. They could take the precautions necessary to stop it," he said.

Flovin believe he contracted the highly contagious mat herpes at a recent tournament. His family fears he may have unknowingly spread it to others before he received a definitive diagnosis.

But Whitney High wrestling coach Dan Parker says it's rare.

"Skin issues do occasionally pop up; sounds like he has more a serious case, haven't seen anything like that," he said.

Parker adds that all athletes go through skin checks before each match, and screenings are especially strict with a state tournament. Any athlete with an active infection won't be allowed to compete.

"A ref checks you out, you spread your arms, he examines you real close, but if he sees something he'll pull you from the tournament," said Whitney High wrestler Joe Kachmar.

Kachmar and Christian Cornes have been wrestling for years and say they've been taught to thoroughly wash their bodies after a match and clean their mats.

"We clean mats really good," Cornes said. "We dry dust so there's no dirt on them, then we spray them down, and then mop again."

The California Interscholastic Federation says the tournament will go on as planned and released a statement saying, "We are confident that our practices, along with an exhaustive medical review of this particular situation, ensure that there is no justification for concern about the spread of a contagious disease."

Dr. Randy Martin says there's a chance herpes was already dormant in Blake's body and the reaction was stress-induced.

"Just like with cold sores you're gonna have outbreaks in times of stress, so for wrestlers this is a big tournament time," he said.

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