“Inside the humid confines of college wrestling practice, grapplers spend hours banging heads, grinding faces into the mat and contorting into uncomfortable positions. They spill a little blood and leave puddles of sweat” writes the Philadelphia Daily News’ Jason Nark, setting the scene for a medical tragedy (and getting several CSTB readers aroused in the process).  York College’s James Harris, a former wrestler for the school’s Division III squad is “afraid that people will think he contracted herpes from a prostitute, instead of at wrestling practice.”  Much as I want to sympathize with Harris’ plight, what’s up with disparaging prostitutes? Aren’t their jobs difficult enough without being accused of fucking amateur wrestlers?

“I feel uncleansed,” said Harris, 23, a former standout wrestler for Winslow Township High School, in Camden County. “There’s a stigma attached to it.”

Harris and two other ex-wrestlers – Andrew Bradley, of Delaware, and Alex Binder, of Maryland – are suing York College of Pennsylvania, in York County, claiming that coaches knew that a teammate had contracted herpes simplex virus Type 1, yet allowed him to continue wrestling and infecting others during the fall of 2006.

The lawsuit, filed last month in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, contends that the coaching staff disregarded NCAA guidelines and actually “required” the wrestlers to engage in practice with open lesions wrapped in gauze.

Although the York wrestling team made each infected wrestler sit out for three days, NCAA guidelines dictate that athletes with active herpes outbreaks must not compete, even with bandages, until a five-day anti-viral treatment is completed.

Harris, who recently graduated from York, said that at one point roughly 70 percent of the team – or about 25 wrestlers – had contracted herpes, which is treatable but not curable.

Not to make light of a very serious story, but I’m pleased to finally read a story that features the words “wrestling” and “herpes” without once mentioning Buddy Landell.