Wrestler sues over herpes contraction

A 20-year-old who claims he contracted herpes and staph during a metro Atlanta high school wrestling tournament is suing several area athletics officials and agencies.

Charles Ellis claims coaches and referees didn’t properly inspect the wrestlers and let him compete with an infected athlete, said Lee Davis, his Cobb County attorney.

Ellis is now prone to type-1 herpes outbreaks across his forehead and has to take prescribed anti-viral medication twice a day for the rest of his life, Davis said.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 17 in Cobb County Superior Court, asks for an amount of money to be determined at trial.

The lawsuit also names the Georgia High School Association and the Metro Atlanta Wrestling Association. Representatives of both agencies declined to comment.

“There’s so many people in this chain that just let him down,” Davis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The GHSA’s policies “strongly recommend” that wrestling mats be disinfected a minimum of three times per week with a medically approved cleansing solution during the competitive season.

“In the event an athlete develops a skin disorder or skin lesion that is considered contagious, the school must complete and provide the ‘Physician’s Release for Wrestler to Participate’ form.” The release form is to be presented by the coach at the weigh-in or prior to competition.

The lawsuit does not mention whether this procedure was followed.- by Ben Brasch

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution