The Dutch Fork wrestling program remains suspended as the school, and Lexington-Richland School District 5 officials are investigating a recent cluster of bacterial skin infections that involved 17 wrestlers.
“We want to ensure that we have a full understanding of what caused this problem, and that any risk of further infection is eliminated before our wrestlers return to action,” District 5 chief information officer Mark Bounds said. “There is nothing more important than the safety of our students.”
According to Bounds, some Silver Fox wrestlers began to notice rashes during the winter holidays. Each student-athlete was required to get a physical and a doctor’s release before returning to practice or competition. While the number of affected athletes grew over the two-week period, Bounds noted that “no Dutch Fork wrestler wrestled in practice or competed in a meet once identified as possibly having an infection.”
Though the wrestlers had similar symptoms, they returned with varied diagnoses. Out of caution, the district suspended the season while it tries to determine if there is a common cause.
Although doctors and the Department of Health and Environmental Control have indicated that the rashes are most likely spread through skin-to-skin contact, Dutch Fork has had its locker room, weight room and wrestling room professionally cleaned and disinfected.
“We are monitoring this closely, and hope to get our wrestlers back on the mat soon,” Bounds said.
Team wrestling playoffs begin on Feb. 8.