To many, wrestling is viewed as a dangerous sport. The violent hand-to-hand combat with minimal protective gear often leads people to believe that injuries are inevitable in this sport, but wrestling can actually be quite safe and enjoyable to participants of all ages as long as proper technique and safety precautions are followed. Check out these tips on ensuring that this wrestling season is a safe and successful season.
While there may seem to be minimal protective gear in wrestling, the essentials that all wrestlers wear actually provides ample protection during competition and practice. The most vital piece of protective gear, especially at lower levels, is headgear. These padded shells that go over the ears protect against ear and head injuries that may be sustained from grabbing or grappling. Be sure that headgear fits snuggly, and all straps are secure, as headgear can often shift during competition and can cause an injury known as cauliflower ear. Knee pads can provide additional protection to the knee joint as wrestlers will regularly hit the mats quite hard with their knees. This repetitive trauma on the knee can cause swelling and joint damage. A padded knee pad will provide additional support to the knee, while a shooting sleeve is designed to be more streamlined and allow the knee to slide across the surface of the mat. Proper wrestling shoes allow the participant to have the ankle and foot support needed while on the mat, and also provide traction that prevents slips and lost balance that can result in tendon and ligament injuries. Athletic supports for men and women will help keep everything in place and provide an additional line of protection when competing.
Carefully Cut Weight
Because of the weight class structure of wrestling competition, many wrestlers will have to cut weight before a meet, and often times it needs to be done in a hurry. Cutting weight before a weigh-in the improper way can leave a wrestler feeling weak and sluggish, as well as put them as risk for dehydration, hyperthermia, and heart problems. As a parent, always stay informed about requests that coaches make of wrestlers, and encourage your son or daughter to communicate with you if they need to cut weight so that it can be done in a supervised manner.
Practice Good Hygiene
The close quarters, skin-to-skin, style of wrestling leaves little room for cleanliness, which is why before and after meets or practices, personal hygiene carries an even greater importance. Wrestlers should shower before and after practice, washing their body with an anti-bacterial soap. Towels, practice gear, head gear, or singlets should never be shared between wrestlers, and all items used before, during, and after sessions should be properly laundered. Wrestling mats should also be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner after every use to kill any bacteria that may have been left on the mat from a previous meet or practice. Clear Gear Sports Spray is the perfect solution to ensure that mats are safe to use, thanks in part to its ability to kill harmful bacteria like MRSA, Staph, Herpes, Influenza, and Ringworm. To see the full list of germs, viruses, and bacteria, click here.
Ensure Your Body is Ready
Before the season begins, a sports physical should be undergone to ensure that the athlete is of sound physical health to participate in wrestling. If the athlete has had any prior injuries or health conditions, it should be discussed with a medical professional before allowing them to begin participation. As the season progresses, be sure to take time before every practice to warm up and stretch properly. Running to get muscles warmed up followed by a 5-10 minute stretching regiment will ensure that all of the major muscle groups are loose and ready for use in wrestling.
Follow these tips during this year’s wrestling season and you’ll enjoy every second of the season on the mats. Safety and athlete health are of the upmost concern for the majority of wrestling programs around the nation. If your team or program isn’t implementing some of the things mentioned in this article, it’s important to speak up! Clear Gear wishes wresters of all ages and levels a safe and successful wresting season.