Wrestler Says Negligence By Event Sponsors Led to His Viral Infection

By AIMEE SACHS

(CN) – A 20-year-old Georgia man claims in court that the failure of organizers of a 2013 high school wrestling tournament to take steps to prevent participants from contracting skin diseases was the cause of his suffering staph and herpes type-1 infections.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 17 in the Cobb County Superior Court, Charles Dawson Ellis claims he contracted the viral infections while participating in the Patriot Junior Varsity Classic on Jan. 26, 2013.

The event was hosted by defendant Sandy Creek High School, a school in the defendant Fayette County Public School System.

Also named as defendants are the Georgia High School Association, which oversees high school athletics throughout the state, and the Metro Atlanta Wrestling Association, which provided equipment used at the meet.

“In January of 2013, Defendants were all individually and collectively aware that there is a significant and appreciable risk of transmissions of communicable skin diseases, such as the bacterial infection staphylococcus aureus and the viral infection herpes gladitorium caused by the herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-l), between high school wrestlers and from contact with wrestling equipment that has not been properly cleaned or disinfected,” the complaint says.

Ellis says the defendants did not enforce a mandatory skin-test protocol during the event and failed to properly clean equipment before, between and after matches.

He blames this alleged negligence for his wrestling defendant John Doe 3, the wrestler he believes infected him.

Ellis says his condition is permanent and that he now suffers from periodic viral outbreaks.

He is represented by C. Lee Davis on the Davis Leardo law firm in Atlanta.

Officials for the Georgia High School Association could not be immediately reached for comment.