The Skin Guide; Prevention Of Bacterial And Fungal Skin Infections In Wrestling
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The Skin Guide; Prevention Of Bacterial And Fungal Skin Infections In Wrestling

Common Wrestling Skin Infections

Wrestling is a grueling contact sport which involves large amounts of 'skin to skin' and 'skin to surface' contact. Because of the hot and humid conditions normally present in a wrestling match and the aforementioned contact, there's a significant chance of skin infection. The common wrestling skin infections include ringworm, herpes simplex, MRSA and impetigo. These infections can be broken down into two groups; bacterial skin infection and fungal skin infection. While the symptoms can vary, preventative measures for all are identical.

Although wrestling incurs higher incidences, skin infections are present in any sport and these methods of prevention should be adopted by all athletes. Most major governing bodies including NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association), NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) and CDC (Center for Disease Control) concur on these safe practices.

Generally, bacterial skin infection and fungal skin infection are transmitted when a bacteria such as staphylococcus or streptococcus, or a fungus such as ringworm comes into contact with unprotected skin. When warm and moist conditions are present the possibility of infection is exaggerated. There is also a higher probability of infection through open wounds or sores.

Preventative Measures

Like the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Although it's impossible to totally prevent infection, there are measures one can utilize to severely mitigate the possibility.

  1. Apply a skin protectant. There are several good products on the market and it needs to be applied over the face, arms, back, neck, legs and any exposed area before every match and before every practice.
  2. Wear long sleeves and sweatpants. Keeping the legs and arms covered is a safe bet during practices.
  3. Shower immediately after practices and competitions using a good antibacterial liquid soap and shower mesh to scrub any exposed areas. A mesh is preferable to a washcloth because it cleans and dries quicker. Washcloths could retain bacteria and bar soaps could pass bacteria and fungi.
  4. Don't share towels and never reuse unwashed towels.
  5. Take practice clothing home in a plastic bag. Any contaminants could linger in the gym bag. Never reuse unwashed practice clothing, knee pads or wraps.
  6. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered in practice.
  7. Make sure coaches and trainers are informed if you notice anything unusual on your skin.
  8. Use a disinfectant spray on headgear, gym bag and shoes after practice or competition.
  9. Clean the wrestling mats with a disinfectant prior to use. Clean the soles of wrestling shoes before stepping on the mats. There are products designed specifically for wrestling.
  10. Wear flip flops in the showers. Locker room floors are a prime source for fungi that can lead to athlete's foot. Spray flip flops with disinfectant.
  11. Once a wrestler has been infected, he/she needs to be evaluated and cleared by a physician prior to practicing or competing. The appropriate form must be presented to coaches, trainers and/or refs.

Using common sense can go a long way to keeping wrestlers on the mat and not on the sideline. Proper hygiene is absolutely critical. After all of the hard work wrestlers endure in practice, it would be a shame for them to miss the competition because of something preventable.


Street Talk

Wow! I just learned a thing or two. Great article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

thank you - some of this stuff you just don't want to mess around with

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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