Hauppauge H.S. Wrestler Battles Life-Threatening MRSA

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of Hauppauge High School’s elite wrestlers, 16-year-old Nicholas Mauriello, has been nearly unstoppable on the mat this year and a key member of the team. On Tuesday, however, he was fighting for his life in a Suffolk County hospital room, battling two bacterial infections.

Mauriello was fighting both a potentially-deadly MRSA infection, and a secondary Lemierre’s infection.

In a twist of fate, the MRSA infection settled in Mauriello’s neck and caused “Lemierre’s Syndrome.” The infection traveled through his blood and attacked his lungs and other vital organs

While it’s still unclear exactly how Mauriello contracted MRSA, he reportedly first complained of neck pain after a January 22 match. His condition quickly deteriorated as he developed breathing problems and difficulty moving.

Tuesday evening, Mauriello’s family said the teen had regained consciousness and even spoke a few words.

“His heart rate was going through the roof, he was laying in bed breathing at a ridiculous rate,”Nick Mauriello, Sr., the boy’s father said earlier Tuesday.

WCBS 880 Reporter Sophia Hall spoke with Nicholas Mauriello’s dad.

Dr. Rahul Panesar, who is treating Mauriello said while “it’s very unique and very strange that this MRSA caused Lemierre’s,” it’s not unprecedented. “There have been case reports of this bacteria doing this,” he said.

1010 WINS Reporter Carol D’Auria with Mauriello’s doctor on his condition.

The wrestler’s mother is keeping a round-the-clock vigil at his hospital bedside. His father is visiting as he can, while still taking care of the family’s three other boys.

Tuesday morning brought another day of classes at the school, and a barrage of well wishes for the star athlete.

“He’s a great wrestler, and I’m actually friends with him,” said student Joe Loiacono. I just hope he gets better and stick for the best.”

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs with student reaction.

“I just feel bad for the kid and hope that he’s getting better,” one parent said.

According to the team’s website, Mauriello is ranked fifth in New York State at the 125 lbs. weight class. With a record of 35 wins and just two losses, he delivered for his team this season.

Related: CBS 2HD’s Dr. Max Gomez Recounts His Experience With MRSA

“This particular form that spreads from skin-to-skin contact actually is more aggressive because it learned to mutate over time,” Dr. Brian McDonough said. “The bacteria doesn’t respond to our normal antibiotics so it’s far more aggressive and it can really get a foothold in someone really quick.”

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Doctors said Mauriello’s secondary infection, Lemierre’s, manifested as a septic clot in his jugular vein and was likely caused by the MRSA.

The star grappler, who now has a CaringBridge.org support page raising awareness to his condition, was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Mauriello was reportedly on day three of a cocktail of antibiotics. He needs five straight days of negative cultures in order to be declared clear of the infection.

Hauppauge Schools Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said her staff routinely takes steps to sanitize student and athletic areas within the school and reinforce good personal hygiene among athletes but, she noted, she can’t always control what students are exposed to outside of her facilities.

“We have no idea whether or not this is contracted when you’re out shopping,” she said. “And I want to say I know all school districts struggle with this. And we all do our very best.”

School officials sent home a letter notifying parents about the case of MRSA. It also included tips for hygiene, such as washing hands, keeping cuts and scrapes covered, and avoiding contact with open wounds.

  • Joe Muscarella

    You’re a champion !! Keep up the fight and we’ll be keeping you in
    our prayers. It’s imperitive that we all work together to ensure the saftey of the
    atheletes in all sports. Especially in sports like Wrestling where there is constant contact and the mats have such a mixture of blood, sweat and tears. Good Awarness and Prevention will go a long way to helping many continue to enjoy
    such a tough and terrific sport! A quick hot shower after every wrestling match will also. God Speed, Wisdom, Courage and Power!
    Joe Muscarella & Family

  • Robin Leggio

    Hey Nick,
    We cant express how relived we are~ SO so so Happy to hear and know each day your getting stronger!!!! We know you hold the “key” for an success recovery,
    “You Are an Athlete”~
    One day at a time….rebuild, recondition and back on Top in no time at all :)
    Always in our Hearts, Robin,Joe Gabriella & Anthony
    Say Hi to Mom & Dad

  • Gordon edwards

    My entire wrestling team’s prayers are for you, your recovery, and family. We won’t stop. Keep fighting. Your a wrestler, a fighter, a model, and an inspiration. We won’t stop. -inspired wrestler

  • Simon Zarate

    Si a mi me quisieron demostrar que el tittle era con ciertas masas de alterofilia y hoy me siento con mas bronca por que todo me pone de muy mal humor.

  • mike

    It is unfortunate that Nick contracted MRSA. It is much more common than many people believe, and it has been around for much longer than the public realizes as well. Having a family member who has had numerous run in’s with MRSA, I consider my self well educated in it. It is bad, but not as bad as the media makes it out to be. It is no worse than a traditional Staph Infection. The only difference is that specific antibiotics are needed too treat it. MRSA is found everywhere, on money, ATM machines, public door handles. Not just on wrestling mat’s. The most important thing is hygiene and protecting open cuts with band aids and antibiotic creams or anti-microbial’s, and never putting your hands in your mouth. At home, simpy using a bleach/water solution in a spray bottle to clean all commonly touched surfaces is an excellent disinfectant. If you feel sick, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for a blood culture.

    Be especially vigilant in hospitals as hospital aquired MRSA is a major major problem in the United States. (European countries have almost eradicated hospital acquired infections, as they are meticulously cleaned).

  • Concern Parent

    First and Foremost, my prayers go out to Nick and his family. I’m glad to hear he stood up yesterday. Nick wrestled my son up at the Eastern States tournament on 1/14 – Nick is an excellent wrestler. I reviewed several websites but no one mentioned if any other wrestlers who came in contact with Nick contracted a mild case of MRSA? Does anyone know if the issue was isolated to Nick only? Thanks…

  • Evy Dones

    Hi there Nicky, this is Vic’s mom Evy…I was speaking to Vic last night and he told me about Nicky Jr…..He is in my prayers…Praying for a speedy recovery…God Bless you and your beautiful family…Evy

  • G.L.Ramsey

    Hey Nick,
    I survived the same thing that you are dealing with. In a few weeks you will be fine, Just remember that god gives us a second chance in life every so often so we can tell the world about the great thing that life is.
    You are in my prayers and I look forward to a quick and full recovery.
    Don’t let this opertunity pass you by, Let the world know how precious life is and how we need to make the best of every day.
    Get well soon,

  • I hope you get well soon

    Good Luck and I hope you get better soon !!!!

  • adre

    I’m sure this kid will be fine, our hearts and prayers go out to him and his faimly.

    “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” – Dan Gable

    -Coach and former wrestler (Upstate NY)

  • John

    I certainly hope that this fine young man will make a speedy and full recovery.He and his family will be in my thoughts and prayers each and every day!

  • Peter Hujar

    hope the best for guy

  • ConcernedAboutHealth

    It probably comes from pets at home. Dogs carry MRSA!!!

    • Heather Thrall

      Having just been released from the hospital after a sudden and life-threatening bout with necrotizing fasciitis, I can truly empathize with this youngste and his family. I wish him a full recover. It will be tough fight, but from the way he’s described, it seems he’s quite a fighter. My best thoughts and prayers to the family. Hang in there.

  • A former wrestler and coach

    Wrestling has morphed into an elite sport with most wrestlers supplementing their high school practices with club practices and it’s not uncommon for some wrestlers to attend more than one club. Some if not most of these clubs do not have adequate shower facilities and have wrestlers coming and going.
    This exponentially increases an athlete’s chance of catching or transmitting an infection.
    Following the advice of C Stubbs is probably a wrestler’s best defense.
    Hang in there Nick!!

  • nycwrestle

    hpe you have a quick recovery nick!

  • Migs Sr.

    Hang in there Nick. We are all pulling for and praying for your speedy recovery. God Bless You.

  • Albert G. Bruhn

    As head coach of WCSU Wrestling/Grappling Team in Danbury, CT, I make sure all my guys shower after their match(es) to prevent skin diseases. I too as a wrestler and grappler shower and have never had a skin disorder in my life. Mats should be cleaned after each match and are not due to time constraints with teams competing.
    But, that said, this news story might be a wake-up call to cleaning mats after each match!

  • Albert G. Bruhn

    As head coach with Western Connecticut State University wrestling/grappling team, it’s imperative wrestlers shower after each match, period. Mats are not cleaned after each match.
    Health #1 for all wrestlers all the time. As a wrestler/grapplers, I shower after each match and know this old school approach IS the only defense against diseases on the mat or in the ring. I have NEVER had any body diseases in my 65 yrs. on the mat!

  • James

    Our hearts go out to the Mauriello’s. They are a great family and the nicest people. God’s speed on your recovery Nick. We are praying for you and your family that you all come out of this okay. James & Laurie

  • PaPa Joe

    C. Stubbs has it exactly correct. I can tell you, as a trained, certified healthcare professional, this youg man has a match tougher than any he’s had before. I wish him well.

  • C. Stubbs

    Hold tight and do what the Doctors tell you to do. God speed your recovery and RETURN to the mat. My Son also contracted MRSA wrestling in Florida at high school. Two suggestions for Parents:
    1. Carry packets of medical bacteria wipes and make sure you wipe your Son down after each match.
    2. Make sure the mats are periodically wiped down, especially at intermissions. I’m sure some referees will chime in and tell us how great a job they do making sure the mats are clean. If so, why did this young man contract MRSA? Dirty mats.

    Stubby in Fl

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