A long time ago, I was a wrestler. When I started in middle school, I was unaware of just about everything that was associated with it. This included things like weight management, scoring and the possibility of getting skin diseases. Luckily, I don’t remember suffering from any of the skin diseases, but the majority of wrestlers will tell you that this is NOT common.
Now, as a certified athletic trainer for more than seven years, and having worked several seasons of wrestling, I’ve seen many wrestlers with different skin disorders.
I must admit…dealing with skin diseases can sometimes be a tricky and “less than pleasing” process. It can also be embarrassing for the wrestler to tell their athletic trainer, coach or parent that they may have one of these diseases. However, not telling anyone can turn a relatively minor situation into an extreme danger in some cases.
What are the most common skin diseases associated with wrestling?
It is impossible to say whether or not all wrestlers will have any or all of these at times in their career, but the most common diseases include (links below include photo examples):
Why are skin diseases so common in wrestling as opposed to other sports?
Well, it’s pretty obvious that wrestling has more one on one contact with opposing players than any sport. It is possible to have one wrestler spread a skin disease to the entire team.
What are ways to prevent spread of skin diseases?
- Thoroughly sanitize and disinfect all wrestling mats before and after use
- Practice good hygiene, and encourage everyone to wash clothes after practice
- Attempt to clean wrestling room and allow for air flow (bacteria and viruses thrive in hot, moist and dark enclosed environments)
- Better to err on the cautious side-have every potential skin disease checked by a doctor or healthcare professional
What should you do if you have a skin disease?
- Remove yourself from contact immediately
- Get to a doctor so they can prescribe a course of treatment (normally, antibiotics, topical creams and good hygiene is recommended)
- Do not return until all symptoms have subsided, and you are not contagious
- Wash clothes you wore before, along with sheets and bedding that may be infected
Read more articles for coaches of young athletes.
Written by: Matthew Brewer, MS, ATC, Athletic Trainer, Sports Medicine for Young Athletes, Children’s Hospital Colorado.