Health & Hygiene Guidelines
In recent years, contact sports have experienced outbreaks of skin infections and disease, and are generally borne from hot, humid or damp, surface conditions. Locker rooms and wrestling mats are just two examples of ideal breeding grounds for these conditions. Because skin diseases are contagious, all states mandate skin checks of wrestlers before competing.
The good news is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Good sanitary practices such as showering immediately after practice, laundering practice clothes, wearing clean shoes and clean clothes on the mats, maintaining good body hygiene, and ensuring mats are disinfected before and after practice goes a long way to prevent any potential skin or infectious conditions. Ironhawk Academy takes skin hygiene and mat safety very seriously.
Ironhawk Academy and the Skutt Catholic Wrestling facility take every precaution to minimize the risk of skin infections for our athletes. Mats are cleaned on a regular basis with a disinfectant/sanitizer that is formulated to kill organisms that cause skin infections. Keeping our wrestlers healthy by avoiding skin infections needs to be a shared responsibility of every coach, parent, and athlete. More specific to wrestling, the following practices are some of the keys to minimizing the risk of skin infections:
Wear clean shoes on the mats. Ironhawk requires wrestling shoes while on the mats in order to ensure the safety of our wrestlers. Prior to the wrestlers entering the wrestling room for practices, their shoe soles need to be clean. The easiest way to accomplish this is by bringing a different pair of shoes to be worn on the wrestling mat. Street shoes or tennis shoes worn outside should not be worn on the mat, and wrestling shoes should not be worn on the street. As a matter of safety to all our wrestlers and to protect the mats, we will not allow wrestlers to practice with shoes worn outside, or with bare feet or socks only.
Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands! Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections is to WASH YOUR HANDS. Clean hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol hand rub if soap is not available. When taking a break to use the bathroom, all wrestlers need to wash their hands before returning to the mats. This should also be done before and after practice.
Keep cuts and scrapes, no matter how small, clean and covered. If your child has cuts or scrapes, please be sure they are clean and covered prior to coming to practice.
Keep Fingernails Clipped. Long fingernails can cause cuts and abrasions. Many infections begin when bacteria and viruses gain access to our body through small openings or cuts in the skin. Keep fingernails clipped short to prevent scratching other wrestlers.
Showers should be taken immediately following all practices and competitions. Taking a shower must be the first thing an athlete does when he gets home. Use of a shower mesh or washcloth in conjunction with an antibacterial soap/cleanser is strongly recommended.
Wear clean clothes and equipment and keep them clean. Please ensure wrestlers come to practice with clean clothes and equipment. Clothes that have been worn outside playing in the grass, dirt, etc., can bring soil-borne organisms, such as ringworm, onto the mats. Clothes and towels taken home for laundering should be placed in disposable plastic bags, never directly into a gym bag. This helps prevent germs from being transferred to the inside of the gym bag. Headgear should be wiped off with an alcohol wipe after each practice, and knee pads should be washed after every use. Towels should never be shared.
You and/or your wrestler should perform regular skin checks. If you notice a lesion, sore, or rash on the skin, especially if it is red, swollen, or draining fluid, notify one of our coaches, and contact your healthcare provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Note that we will do periodic skin and fingernail checks of all our wrestlers, just as officials do for wrestling competitions.