The mother of a 17-year-old high school wrestler who suffered a major head infection allegedly caused by a teammate is blaming school administrators and coaches for not informing other wrestlers of the teammate's condition. Stacey Carey - whose son, Jaylan Douglass, has been hospitalized since Saturday with an oozing head wound and a temperature of 104.5 degrees - also claims coaches at North Central High School in Indianapolis do not properly sanitize wrestling mats.
According to local Fox affiliate WXIN, Carey says doctors are 99 percent positive Douglass contracted the infection (originally thought to be methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA) from his sparring partner - a senior with a head wound. Yet no one on the team was notified, she claims. "You allow a boy, knowingly, that has something going on to continue to come to school and to wrestle," Carey told local NBC affiliate WTHR. "Look at my son's head. The school knew that this young man had this, and you continue to let him wrestle and come to school? My son looks like he's been shot in his head."
"I get angry with my sparring partner," Douglass told WTHR's Eyewitness News team. "He didn't say anything about having something on his head, and the coaches said nothing." Douglass added that what began as a small but painful bump on his head now requires antibiotics and has left him fighting a high fever.
Mother and son claim they are still waiting for an explanation from the school, which issued the following statement Monday afternoon: "Wrestling mats at North Central are routinely sanitized after all practices and all meets, which is the standard procedure. Further, athletic trainers carefully monitor all student-athletes, and recommend medical care when appropriate. School officials will investigate specific details of this case, and will take appropriate steps to ensure student and staff safety. HIPAA regulations regarding medical privacy preclude any further comment on this matter."
The Centers for Disease Control estimates 30 percent of the nation's population carries staph infection on the skin or in their nose. In 2007, the Minnesota State High School League suspended wrestling for eight days after 24 cases of herpes gladiatorum - a permanent, recurring form of the herpes simplex type 1 virus that is transferred by skin-to-skin contact and characterized by lesions on the face, neck and arms - were confirmed among wrestlers from 10 different schools. The outbreak eventually impacted 40 wrestlers across 16 schools.