West Virginia Wrestling


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


The prevention of infectious diseases is everybody's responsibility - Coaches, Parents, Wrestlers, Officials, and Doctors. Below are the preventive roles each group plays.


Coaches have many major responsibilities in the prevention of infectious diseases. The primary ones are as follows:

1. First and foremost, the coach should educate the parents and wrestlers regarding infectious skin conditions, and how they are spread from one person to another.
2. The coach must make it a point to perform "skin checks" every day to ensure early detection of potential infectious skin conditions.
3. The coach must see to it that the wrestling mats are cleaned at least once a day. The cleaning solution should consist of one part bleach to 100 parts water, or the use of an appropriate commercial cleaner.
4. The coach should make sure that the wrestling room is properly ventilated to prevent the build up of heat and humidity. Bacteria thrive in humid climates.
5. The coach must DEMAND that his wrestlers shower and wash all equipment after every practice and competition. It is wise to utilize antibacterial soap dispensers for showering rather than individual bars of soap. Infectious diseases can be spread by wrestlers sharing soap.


To begin with, the parents should teach their athlete proper hygiene practices. It would also be beneficial to purchase strong antibacterial soap which their athlete would only use at home. One such product is Defense Soap which has been clinically proven to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can be easily purchased online at www.defensesoap.com.

Another parental responsibility, just as important as the first, is the cleaning of all wrestling attire after every practice and competition. This would include clothing, towels, headgear, shoes, knee pads, etc. This procedure is a must in the prevention infectious diseases. Wrestlers

The wrestlers also have major roles to play in the prevention of infectious diseases. They are as follows:

1. At the top of the list is "sharing." The wrestlers must NEVER share any of their stuff with others. This would include clothing, towels, headgear, shoes, knee pads, hygiene supplies, razors, etc.
2. No matter how much of a rush wrestlers are in to leave practice or competition, they must not forget to shower with antibacterial supplies. The coach can't always watch for their wrestlers to shower; that responsibility is up to each and every wrestler on the team.
3. Finally, each wrestler should examine himself for something that does not belong on their skin. If a skin irregularity is noticed, the wrestler should immediately report it to his coach and parents.


At weigh-ins, officials must be vigilant of any possible skin disease on each and every wrestler. If a skin condition is present and there is no doctor's note or designated physician available for weigh-ins, there is simply NO choice for the official but to disqualify the contestant.

When a skin abnormality is observed, it is much better for the official to err on the side of safety by not permitting the wrestler to compete. Officials are not doctors; they do not want to take the risk of a skin condition contaminating the other wrestlers, themselves, the mat, etc.


The physician has the final say on whether or not a skin condition is infectious. When in doubt, they, too, must err on the side of protecting the other wrestlers. Nobody comprehends the seriousness of various infectious diseases more than doctors.

They also understand litigation, and do not want to jeopardize their practice by signing off on a skin condition that could still be contagious. In essence, they have their own professional reputations to be concerned about as well.

In sum, whether the physician gives the "okay" to participate or not, his WORD is final!

The most important thing to remember is to practice proper hygiene at all times. Immediately after every practice or competition showering is imperative. Sharing is a "No-No!"

Likewise, practice areas, weight rooms and all equipment should be disinfected on a daily basis. Responsibility is in the hands of everyone involved.

Keep in mind, it is always easier to prevent infectious diseases from occurring than it is to contract and then treat them.


1. The Truth About Ring Worm by MaryAnn Decorby at www.amateurwrestler.com.
2. Defense Soap at www.defensesoap.com.
3. Treatment and Prevention of Skin Infections in Wrestlers by Tamara Spann, ATC at www.ghsa.net
4. The Third Man - Skin Checks at www.insidetexaswrestling.com.
5. Referee Magazine's NFHS Wrestling Preseason Guide 2010-2011 article - "Communicable Diseases: Coaches' and Referees' Responsibilities" at www.nfhs.org.


Starting this season, the Figure-4 Leg Scissors is illegal around the head. In the past, the Figure-4 Leg Scissors was legal around the head in the top or bottom position, illegal around the body and both legs, and a technical violation in the neutral position.

Q: Wrestler A applies a Figure-4 leg scissors around Wrestler B's left leg. The official signals an illegal hold and awards Wrestler B one penalty point. Was the referee correct?
A: The official was wrong. The Figure-4 around one leg is legal.


"One half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that's the important half, for without discipline you wouldn't know what to do with your luck."
-- Carl

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