West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Rick Welker

on Communicable Diseases, Part 1

With the emergence of more infectious (communicable) diseases, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) and National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) have placed a high priority on communicable disease intervention. The remainder of this document will concentrate on identifying, treating, and preventing such physical anomalies in wrestling.

The following are the communicable diseases that are of the most concern to wrestling authorities:

Ring Worm

Ring worm is the most common infection found in wrestling. It is actually a fungal infection and not a worm. This skin infection appears red and scaly in a ring formation with a clear center. Ring worm is highly contagious and can develop in many different areas of the body, including the feet (Athlete's Foot), the groin (Jock Itch), the trunk, the face, and the scalp. Ring worm may or may not itch.

If ring worm is suspected, it is very important to begin treatment immediately. Treatments include antifungal creams or oral antifungal medication. Treatment should be applied two times a day for 1 to 4 weeks. Wrestlers may return to competition after three days of treatment use.


Impetigo is another infection associated with wrestling. Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial infection which attacks broken skin such as cuts and scraps. The more commonly seen Impetigo regarding wrestlers presents itself with a yellow honey colored crust over a red base. It often is very itchy. In most cases, Impetigo is observed on the face, arms, legs, and trunk.

Treatment consists of an antibiotic such as "Bactroban." This should be applied to the affected area three times daily for ten days or until the infection is gone. Wrestlers with impetigo infections may not participate until all blisters and lesions are completely eliminated.


A growing infection that has been spreading through out high school and college locker rooms is Staph. A more recent problem that doctors have found with Staph is that some strands have become resistant to antibiotic treatment; this strand is known as MRSA.

Staph that was once confined to hospitals is now creeping into the sports world, especially wrestling. Staph infection is most commonly spread through skin contact, but it can also be transmitted through sports equipment, work out areas, and unwashed towels and uniforms.

Staph first appears as a pimple or ant bite. The wound site then quickly evolves into a painful boil that if not cared for immediately, it will eventually bust open producing a bloody puss-like substance that is highly contagious.

Staph infections are very serious. If not treated in the early stages, they may require hospitalization and strong antibacterial treatments. Athletes infected by staph MUST not be permitted to engage in physical activity until they have been declared infection free by a doctor.


Herpes is an extremely contagious virus. This viral infection often appears as a fever blister in multiple parts of the body, especially the face and the trunk areas. Herpes enters the body through a break in the skin such as a cut or mat burn, and is transmitted by skin to skin contact.

Herpes presents itself as a fluid filled blister on top of red skin. Once the blister breaks open it appears with a crusty painful scab. There is no cure for Herpes.

Treatments include Valtrex medication and prophylactic drugs. Wrestling guidelines state that wrestlers may not participate in practice or competition until they are symptom free, without a new blister for three days, or the athlete has taken medication for at least five days.

The prevention of infectious diseases is everybody's responsibility - Coaches, Parents, Wrestlers, Officials, and Doctors. Next week we will discuss what all involved can do to prevent communicable diseases.

Team Scoring and Tiebreakers in Dual Meets

The chart for team and match scoring at dual meets is as follows:

Team Scoring
3 points: Decision (1-7 point spread)
4 points: Major Decision (8-14 point spread)
5 points: Technical Fall (15 or more point spread)
6 points: Fall, Forfeit, default, or disqualification

Remember, this is team scoring for dual meets, not tournaments. We will discuss tournament team scoring next week.

In dual meet competition, if the team score concludes in a draw or tie, the winning team would be determined by the following criteria:

1) The team that has received the fewest points for flagrant misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct shall be declared the winner.
2) The team whose opposing wrestlers or team personnel have been penalized the greater number of team point deductions for unsportsmanlike conduct, flagrant misconduct, and coaching misconduct shall be declared the winner.
3) The team whose opposing wrestlers were penalized the greater number of match points for unsportsmanlike conduct during a match shall be declared the winner.
4) The team that has won the greater number of matches (including forfeits) shall be declared the winner.
5) The team that has accumulated the greatest number of points from falls, defaults, forfeits, or disqualifications shall be declared the winner.
6) The team that has earned the greater number of points from technical falls shall be declared the winner.
7) The team that has earned the greater number of points from major decisions shall be declared the winner.
8) The team having the greater number of total match points of first points scored shall be declared the winner.
9) The team securing the greater number of near-fall points will be declared the winner.
10) The team securing the greater number of takedown points will be declared the winner.
11) The team having the greater number of reversals will be declared the winner.
12) The team having the greater number of escapes will be declared the winner.
13) The team whose opponent has been penalized more often for stalling will be declared the winner.
14) The team whose opponent has been warned more often for stalling shall be declared the winner.
15) The team whose opponent has the greater number of penalty points for all other infractions shall be declared the winner.
16) If none of the above resolves the tie, a flip of the referee's disk will determine the winner.

Upon determining the winning team, a single team point will be added to the winning team's score.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A won his match 17-2. How many points would he score for his team and what type of win would this be?
A: He would score 5 points for his team with a technical fall.

Mat Message
"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
-- Clarence Budington Kelland

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)

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