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Pinning down solutions to common wrestling injuries

Last Modified: 9/25/2019

As sports go, wrestling is synonymous with certain ailments and injuries, most commonly affecting the ears, body and skin. David Morey, MS, LAT, ATC, assistant athletic trainer, Parkview Sports Medicine, tosses around some of the things athletes encounter on the mat.


One of the more frequent issues wrestlers experience is an auricular hematoma, more commonly known as “cauliflower ear”. The condition occurs as a result of repeated episodes of blunt or shearing forces to the external ear that cause a hematoma to develop in the auricle. It will usually look and feel like a build-up of fluid in the outer ear.

Though an auricular hematoma is not painful, if left untreated, it can harden and cause a permanent deformity of the ear. If seen early enough, a physician can drain the ear with a small needle. To prevent the condition altogether, have the athlete wear their headgear, as it helps mitigate those blunt forces on the ear.


While bumps and bruises will happen during wrestling, other musculoskeletal problems can occur that can sideline your athlete. Due to the amount of torqueing on various joints on the body, strains and sprains are common. Hips, shoulders, knees and elbows are often affected, and parents and athletes want to watch for things like swelling or bruising on the joints, as well as decreases in their normal range of motion.

A proper warmup, along with stretching, can help prevent sprains and strains from occurring. These precautions make the muscles more pliable, so they are able to withstand the more extreme motions that happen during wrestling.


There are various skin conditions that occur in the sport that can prevent your wrestler from competing until treated. The more common issues are ringworm, staph infections and MRSA.

Ringworm, which presents as scaly, red, raised skin, can be treated using anti-fungal ointments and the wrestler can still participate, provided the infection can be covered. However, if it’s found on the scalp, they have to wait at least two weeks before continuing.

Staph and MRSA often first appear like small pimples or boils, but can become a more serious problem if not treated properly. Athletes who suspect they have any of these conditions should be seen by a physician as soon as possible to receive the correct medication to treat the issue. Practicing proper hygiene can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi. This includes wearing clean clothes every time one wrestles and washing used clothing every day.

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