The Truth About Ring Worm

Ring Worm: A skin disease producing round scaly patches on the skin, caused by a fungus.

Communicable diseases, skin diseases, in particular, are a threat to wrestlers because of constant skin-to-skin contact and repeated minor abrasions. Skin diseases can sweep through a team unless the wrestlers are monitored and treated effectively. Preventative measures are of primary importance and require the cooperation of each wrestler, and very close observation of each coach. Skin diseases can not only hinder a wrestler but also cause him to be disqualified from competition.

Coaches must also watch very closely for signs of ringworm among their athletes. The rules require or recommend that all competitors be checked by medical personnel for communicable diseases before competition, but the fungus may have already spread among the athletes while conducting practice. Athletes may not be aware of the skin condition since the infected area does not cause pain or illness, but only slight redness, itching and scaling. It therefore does not motivate the wrestler to stay off the mat. The affected area may also not be visible to the athlete. Areas such as the back of neck/hairline, or back often go unnoticed. The fungus infection is very contagious and the athlete should seek medical treatment immediately, and stay of the mat until every bit of the infection has cleared.

Treatment may include oral medication and/or anti-fungal cream. Because of the nature of the sport, the usual method of treatment is not effective because of the excessive sweating. The athlete MUST BE COMPULSIVE in the treatment in order for it to be effective. Treatment takes 3-4 weeks.

Prevention of skin diseases includes showering after every practice. Wrestling uniforms and practice clothing should be laundered after each use, and mats should be cleaned with a disinfectant before each practice. However, most disease transmission occurs through skin-to-skin contact.

Length of Illness: The length of illness is dependent on the quickness with which you seek medical help, the type of ringworm which you have and the organism's sensitivity to treatment. The time can be days to weeks. (On occasion it can be months). also some individuals have a strong tendency to become easily re-infected.

Mat Maintenance: Wrestling mats must be washed every day prior to practice with a sodium hypochlorite solution (i.e. bleach). At tournaments the mats should be washed at the break between each session.

The Bottom Line
If we all do our part we can keep the disease from spreading and have a happy ring worm free wrestling year.

Author: Compliments of the British Columbia Wrestling Association and MaryAnn DeCorby.

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About The Author
MaryAnn Decorby is the Excutive Director of the British Columbia Wrestling Association.


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