Days after he competed in a February wrestling tourney, Blake Flovin began exhibiting odd symptoms: He started itching, got a rash, and "the left sides of my face by my lymph nodes started to swell," the high school student tells KTVU. His father likened the 17-year-old's face to that of the "elephant man." Turns out Blake had contracted herpes gladiatorum, or "mat herpes," a highly contagious, lifelong virus that wrestlers have come down with before, either from skin-to-skin contact or from the mat itself, per the San Jose Mercury News. Now Blake has come forward to try to stop this weekend's California state championships. Health protocols were apparently not strictly carried out at the tournament where Blake believes he contracted the virus: Female wrestlers received only "cursory" skin checks and the on-site boys bathroom is said to be notoriously unsanitary.
But the California Interscholastic Federation says it's not postponing the championship, noting everything's soundly in place to stop anyone else from getting the virus. "We are confident that our practices, along with an exhaustive medical review of this particular situation, ensure that there is no justification for concern," the director for the group says, per the News. Despite not being able to stop the championship from proceeding, Blake says the one good thing that's come out of all of this is the response he's received since making his news public. "I've gotten a lot of supportive comments—100%," Blake says, with his dad adding, "He said to me, 'Dad, it's unbelievable. I haven't gotten one negative response.'" (You may not wrestle, but you probably have some form of herpes, too.)