Student-Athlete Well-BeingJoin NWCA

Creating a Culture

“Coaches, athletes, parents and athletic trainers must all be on board with adapting to a culture where everyone is responsible for avoiding contagious skin conditions and where everyone is accountable for taking preventive measures,” – Michael Milligan, M.D., Andrews Institute

Creating a Culture

  • To maximize prevention of skin infections everyone involved must be engaged. Athletes, coaches, athletic trainer, administrators, and parents are all responsible for preventing skin infections.
  • An athlete may carry an infection on her/his skin and expose others even if she/he does not appear infected or become infected. Thus, the need to adhere to effective prevention protocols for all athletes at all times is necessary.
  • Encourage your athlete to follow the skin infection prevention protocols: hygiene, report symptoms and get checked, treatment, and cleaning protocols.
  • As a coach, you have the responsibility for everyone involved on your team. Continually encourage everyone involved with your team to adhere to the skin infection protocols.
  • Everyone that may be a part of the team, including those involved in setup and breakdown must be involved and educated on proper hygiene and cleaning practices.

“While all wrestlers need to understand that they are inherently prone to skin conditions due to the nature of their sport, it is very important to understand that a wrestler should not be embarrassed when a skin condition occurs,” – Michael Milligan, M.D., Andrews Institute

Fact Check: Creating a Culture

  • 92% of infections occur during practice
  • 22% of infections are a reoccurrence
  • Of every 100,000 athlete exposures, there are 2.27 infections. 73.6% of these infections occur in the sport of wrestling. One exposure is equivalent to one athlete participating in a team activity, including practices, games, weight training, conditioning sessions, etc.


Importance of Reporting Skin Conditions

  • Under no circumstances should any wrestler with an active skin condition practice or compete until they are cleared by a physician.
  • Some skin conditions, if left unchecked and/or undiagnosed, can be debilitating, expensive to cure, and in some cases, even deadly.
  • The sooner a wrestler reports a skin condition, the sooner that individual or teammate can return to the mat safely.
  • Wrestlers with active skin condition will be rendered ineligible for practice and competition until cleared by a doctor. Thus, the sooner a possible skin condition is recognized, evaluated by a doctor, and treated the sooner the athlete may return to participation.
  • Parents, coaches, and athletic trainers should promote a culture of reporting. Everyone should encourage athletes to report possible skin infections. In the long run, this protects everyone on the team.


Everything is Not a Spider Bite

  • Patients often confuse serious skin infections with spider bites. The patient may make the mistake to delay treatment due to this error.
  • The beginning stages of many infections look similar to a “spider bite” in most cases these are not actually spider bites and can progress into severe skin infections such as abscesses and cellulitis.
  • The sooner these are identified the quicker the patient receives the best treatment and the athlete can get well, as well as play as safely as possible.
  • Smaller sores that do in fact look like spider bites are much quicker to subside when treated properly than a larger sore or abscess. The key is to find these and report them early!
  • Any time you see something abnormal on your body see a physician for proper diagnoses and treatment. Whether it is a spider bite, an infection, or something else, it is important to get proper medical attention because even many insect bites do require treatment. The sooner this is done, this sooner you can be treated and get well, don’t take the risk.