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Wrestling is shutdown

The Minnesota State High School League shutdown wrestling statewide Tuesday after several athletes developed a skin virus.

In what is believed to be a national first, The MSHSL decided to close down the sport for eight days after 24 athletes from ten different teams were diagnosed with the virus. Caused by the herpes simplex virus (same virus that causes cold sores), Herpes Gladitorum often causes blisters and sores to develop in such areas as the face and neck. The virus, which is spread through touch, is potentially harmful because reoccurring outbreaks can happen throughout one’s lifetime.

The closure of the sport will extend through Feb. 6. Until that date, athletes and coaches are not allowed to have skin-to-skin contact. The decision to shutdown has drawn mixed reaction from Minnesota coaches.

Both local newspapers reported that the original cause is perhaps being traced back to the Clash Duals tournament held in Rochester Dec. 28 and 29. During the tournament, two teams from Kasson-Mantorville and Scott West were disqualified due to the virus. The Pioneer Press included the belief of Steve Patton, tournament chairman of the Clash, that a wrestler from Nebraska could possibly be the initial carrier of the virus. However, according to Patton, there is no concrete proof yet. The Star Tribune didn’t include any specifics on who the initial carrier could be.

According to Patton and both papers, the wrestlers were all thoroughly checked before competition. If there were any questionable wrestlers, they were then sent to the Mayo Clinic for further inspection.

Officials would like to stop the outbreak before the section tournaments start Feb. 14, as well as the state tournaments which start Feb. 28 and end March 3.

The Star Tribune reported that a similar outbreak occurred in 1999, when 60 wrestlers were affected and numerous were disqualified from post-season competition. The Pioneer Press reported that 56 wrestlers and three coaches on 17 different teams were infected in 1999.

Analysis: In both local articles, the writers used direct quotes, paraphrased information and used statements from MSHSL officials. The direct quotes were normally in typical fashion: not too long and typically ended in “last name said?. However, one quote from the PP used a direct quote in an awkward fashion: “Said Olson of Forest Lake? started the sentence. New paragraphs were generally started for direct quotes, as well as statements that were paraphrased. The Pioneer Press used a lot more quotes compared to the Tribune. The PP had quotes from multiple coaches, a referee and MSHSL officials. I also found it interesting that the PP included the possibility of the single cause (a Nebraska wrestler), while the Tribune didn’t mention the specific possibility.