Wrestling Safety

Fall sports season is winding down and the winter sports are getting ready to begin. One sport in particular that is very popular here in Pennsylvania is wrestling. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, wrestling is the 4th most common sport in which high school students compete against each other.  Just as with all sports, wrestling has a risk for injuries that tends to increase with age. But with proper education and preparation, these risks can be lowered and student-athletes can stay both healthy and in the game.

Weight Loss

A unique aspect to the sport of wrestling is the utilization of weight classes. An important thing to remember is that many youth wrestlers have immature bodies that are still growing. Attempting to lose too much weight too quickly can have harmful and possibly deadly repercussions. In recent years, strict monitoring of wrestler’s weights has been initiated. These guidelines dictate the amount of weight that is safe for a young wrestler to lose — not only over a short period of time, but also over the entire length of the season.

PLEASE NOTE: The use of rubber suits, steam baths or saunas, prolonged fasting, fluid restriction, vomiting, drugs, laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, stimulants, ergogenic aids, and supplements for weight loss should be prohibited at all ages.

Skin Conditions

The National Federation of State High School Associates 2006–2007 Rule Book states that “if the participant is suspected of having a communicable skin disease, the coach must provide written documentation from a doctor that the condition is not communicable, and that the athlete’s participation would not be harmful to any opponent.” In general, if a wrestler has any sort of questionable rash, it should be evaluated by a health care professional.

Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds occur frequently in wrestling. The bleeding may be stopped by putting pressure on the nose, placing a plug in the nose, or using a pro-coagulant, a medicine that helps the blood clot.  Frequent reoccurrence and long duration of bleeding may be an indicator of an underlying bleeding issue and should be discussed with a provider.

Concussions

Concussions can and do occur in wrestling. If any signs and symptoms of a concussion are noted, the wrestler should be removed from competition until being medically cleared. For much more about concussions, please refer to Dr. Godinez’s Doctor’s Note: http://bit.ly/KPImpact

“Cauliflower Ear”

Cauliflower ear, or a chronic,  recurring bruise of the ear lobe, is the result of recurrent friction to the ear. It’s best prevented with the use of properly fitted headgear during practice and competition. Cauliflower ears should be treated early by draining the ear and using compression dressings. The problem tends to reoccur, with further trauma to the ear. Most athletes who have wrestled for many years without proper headgear have them.

As always, if you or your student athlete has any questions or concerns, just give us a call in the office.

Travis Lewisis a certified Physician Assistant and a certified Athletic Trainer.