Wrestlers worry as disease spreads


Photo Courtesy of Javier Nunez

Junior Javier Nunez was one of many diagnosed with ring worm during wrestling season. In order to prevent the spread, he was not allowed to wrestle for more than a month until cleared by a doctor.

“You’re out, indefinitely.”

These words were heard by many wrestlers this season, and they had no control over it.

A fairly recent medley of skin infections took out just under half the team for the majority of the season. It also branched into other schools across the Sac-Joaquin Section.

The Staph infection blindsided many players and seemed inevitable to others. One player in particular suffered immensely.

Junior Christian-John Salmasan’s infection covered his neck, arms, and upper chest.

Despite not being part of the first wave of those infected, which was predominantly the heavyweights, his infection still shocked him.

“I knew what it was, but I didn’t know it could get that bad,” Salmasan said. The whole experience was traumatic for him. “I couldn’t do anything but take my medications and hope for best while I was in so much pain.”

The most memorable aspect of his infection was the burning pain. As he has eczema, the infection left his skin severely dry and peeling. “It felt like an open wound covering my body, I had to have it covered up.”

The infection varied from player to player, and not all were as severe as what Salmasan experienced.
Senior Alejandro Figueroa was the luckiest of the unlucky.

His infection was minor in comparison to those of his peers. It was only a small patch of infection around the upper portion of his face, which he compared to a mosquito bite that you scratch raw and that begins to scab over.

He was cleared to wrestle again within two weeks. Despite his relatively good fortune, his early clearance left him with no partner to spar with.

“It wouldn’t be fair for a 220 to be wrestling with a 170, there’s an obvious advantage there,” Figueroa said. “I was left shadow-wrestling for a good week or two.”

Sac-Joaquin section commissioner Mike Garrison said he had no knowledge of an outbreak in the area at all. “That sort of thing is dealt with internally, within each school.”

That did not comfort Figueroa, as there are measures in place to prevent this sort of thing. It seems to him that something slipped through the cracks.

“We’re checked for this sort of thing,” Figueroa said.

“They examine basically all exposed skin, which is a lot when you’re in your singlet.”

“It may have been no one’s fault, but it feels like it could have been prevented.”