Overcoming Wrestling’s Image

Perception is reality and research appears to indicate that many parents have concerns over the “perceived” danger of youth and high school wrestling.  Recently, the Associated Press did a research study and the results suggested that wrestling ranked #1 with respect to the sport that parents were most concerned about the safety of their child (45% of parent indicated this concern).   It’s no wonder that this perception permeates throughout the country when you consider the following:


  • Skin infection is among one of the top 3 most reported injuries in wrestling.
  • We’ve had state wrestling championships suspended due to widespread outbreaks of skin infection.
  • We’ve had an entire state suspend regular season wrestling for 10 days due to a widespread outbreak of skin infection.
  • Back in 1997, three wrestlers were tragically killed while engaged in unsafe weight loss activities.  Many older people still associate our sport’s ill-advised weight loss practices decades ago.
  • While cauliflower ear might be a status symbol for those people within our sport, it is a deterrent with parents and students.


The good news is that these perceptions are relatively easy to overcome as long as the wrestling community (and specifically coaches) make it a priority.  Just consider the following for a moment:


While skin infection is the 3rd most reported injury in wrestling, it is the ONLY one that is preventable (the other injuries includes sprains, strains, etc. are inevitable in a contact sport).  Click here for more information on a great new skincare product that will significantly risk of skin infection (link to Theraworx section on NWCA Website)


Through our comprehensive wrestling weight certification program, wrestling is now positioned to be the ultimate sport for promoting fitness and nutrition.  In fact, wrestling is the only sport in America that requires body composition, weight, and hydration assessments as a condition to participate.  As a sport community, we have to stop referring to “weight certification” and instead, highlight that we use the latest and greatest sport science (and sport nutrition) technology to help our athletes maximize their performance.


Cauliflower ears are 100% preventable with the use of headgear.  This, like skin infection, can drives up insurance costs for the school administrations if we don’t keep it in check.  Please be sure to require your wrestlers to use headgear every day at practice and competition.


In summary, the issues that lead to the “poor” perception of wrestling by parents (and athletes, administrators, etc.)is very easy to overcome if all coaches enforce the simple protocol outlined in the above-mentioned bullet points.  Let’s all work together to position amateur to be the ultimate physical fitness sport that provides a safe and educationally based experience for our student-wrestlers.  Thank you for your consideration of this request and best wishes for a safe and healthy wrestling experience

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