As cooler weather spreads across the nation, it’s a sign that the winter sport’s season is about to kick off. Wrestling has grown to be one of the most popular sports in the United States, with over half a million participants at the youth and high school level. When wrestlers make their return to the mats this season, the risk of being exposed to and contracting MRSA will increase by an astonishing sixteen fold, compared to participation in other sports. Athletes, parents, and coaches need to be aware of the risks associated with MRSA, as well as proper steps to prevent and identify the infection from affecting the athletes who are partaking in the sport. Here are a few important steps to cover during this upcoming wrestling season to ensure a safe and healthy season, free of infection.
Check for Skin Breaks
A cut, scrape, or even a blister can be enough of an opening for MRSA to enter the body. As wrestlers roll around on large, communal mats, they present these wounds with the opportunity to become infected, as well as spread an already existing infection onto the mats where others may become exposed to the infection. Covering any open wounds immediately should be a highly enforced rule for all wrestlers, due in part to the skin-to-skin contact that the sport revolves around. Wrestlers should also avoid closely shaving their body, as small, unnoticeable nicks and cuts can occur, acting as a vessel for a staph infection to enter the body.
Promote Good Hygiene
When possible, wrestlers should shower with an antimicrobial liquid soap immediately following a training session, match, or tournament. Developing a routine that will kill off any infectious bacteria that may be present on the skin is an excellent preventative measure for preventing staph infections, both in the athlete themselves and those that they may wrestle against. Especially at the high school levels, wrestlers should be reminded to not share any soiled clothing, used towels, or other items that have come in contact with another athlete’s bodily fluids. High school athletes are notorious for sharing shirts or shorts to wear in practices, but these articles of clothing can be the perfect transmitting vessel for a staph infection to spread.
Care for Equipment
In many school and youth programs, there can be dozens of wrestlers who hit the mats each day during the season, and even more throughout the season as meets, matches, and tournaments are hosted. The mats that are used in wrestling regularly see gallons of sweat and bodily fluids excreted and wiped around on them as wrestlers practice or compete. Ensuring that wrestling mats do not become a welcome home for bacteria is vital to the success and health of every wrestler in the program or on the team. Clear Gear Sports Spray is the ideal solution for preventing bacteria and disease from living on these mats, as well as in locker rooms, weight rooms, and training tables. Clear Gear’s one-step disinfectant properties provide a thorough defense against harmful bacteria, germs, and viruses like Methicillin-Resistance Staph infection, Influenza, and Herpes. By simply spraying the product onto the mats and allowing it to dry, Clear Gear goes to work against a broad spectrum of bacteria, leaving the surfaces germ free and ready for another day of wrestling.
Ensure that all participants in the wrestling program, whether it be at the youth, high school, or even college level, are well aware of the risks that MRSA and related staph infections can cause, as well as how to identify potential infections on the body. A MRSA infection can usually be indicated by the presence of small pimples or boils that appear to be red in color, and are swollen and painful. Parents of wrestlers should be encouraged to inspect their child’s body for any out of the ordinary pimple-like occurrences, as well as making sure that all apparel and equipment is properly washed with bleach and dried on high heat to ensure that any present bacteria is killed off.
Implement these tips into this wrestling season to ensure that the season is a successful one both on and off the mat. MRSA infection can cost a wrestler the entire season, and sometimes even their entire career, if it is not treated soon enough. Practicing preventative measures is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of contracting a staph infection for all wrestlers who will hit the mats this winter. Clear Gear wishes wrestlers of all ages and levels a successful and safe season!