It’s been estimated that 65% of people will be infected with the “mat” herpes virus by the time you are in your 40s. Mat Herpes a.k.a. herpes gladiatorium, a.k.a. Herpes simplex virus are all different names for the same type of skin infection (HSV-1). Herpes is a serious and contagious skin infection extremely prevalent in combat sports like wrestling, American football, rugby, sumo, BJJ, etc.
“Mat” herpes is a viral infection that is spread by direct contact from any part of the body. Herpes is contracted through tiny breaks in the skin or through moist areas. Symptoms may not appear for up to a month or more after the initial infection. It was first thought that transmission of the virus took place only during an active outbreak. In the early 1980s, it was found that the virus is still contagious and “shed” from the skin even in the absence of symptoms.
It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of new HSV-2 cases are from asymptomatic viral shedding. It’s important to note that there is no cure for the infection so prevention is the key to be herpes free.
Luckily there’s a straightforward set of steps to increase your chances of prevention.