A new school year has begun, and that means multiple busy sports seasons ahead. With wrestling being one of the most popular winter sports among junior high and high school students, parents (as well as players) need to be on the lookout for injuries. Well before the first match of the season, a student wrestler is at risk for certain types of injuries. The better prepared the body, the less likely an injury is to occur.
Wrestling: Know the Impact
Students who engage in the sport of wrestling are in a position of extreme physical demand. There is a need for speed, as well as strength and endurance. The longevity of wrestling matches, especially during tournaments where an athlete may compete in back-to-back matches, sets the stage for severe physical fatigue, and that means an increased risk of injury.
The twisting and throwing that may take place in any given wrestling match may cause dislocation, concussion, contusions, fracture, or other potentially serious injuries.
Some of the common injuries that affect wrestlers include:
- Shoulder and elbow sprains and dislocations.
- Finger fractures.
- Cauliflower ear (a post-injury condition that deforms the ear).
- Knee injuries such as meniscus tears.
- Ankle sprains.
- Strains and pain in the low back.
Playing it Safe
There is no question that physical activities, especially sports, are beneficial for children of all ages. The question is not whether or not to let a child join the wrestling team, is it how to maintain the highest degree of safety during practices and matches. Recommendations include:
- Train off the mat. Build stamina by mixing up training routines to include cardio on a rowing machine or bike or high-intensity interval training.
- Feed the machine. The body is a machine that the wrestler relies on for demanding work. To function properly and recover more quickly, the body must be properly nourished. For the wrestler, this means maintaining electrolytes as well as possible. Drinking water throughout the day is crucial, as is a well-balanced diet that provides calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins.
- Stay protected. Headgear should not be left on the sidelines of any match, practice or otherwise. Proper gear protects the ears from contusions, as well as the head from a concussion.
- Get into position. There are numerous positions that wrestlers find themselves in. Not all are good. In fact, many results in injury. Wrestlers must learn to navigate the twisting motion with a heavy load to reduce the risk of knee injury. Shoulders are better protected if positions such as Half Nelsons and arm bars are avoided as much as possible.
If an injury does occur, prompt care is available in our Wayne, Clifton, or Parsippany office. Call 973 942 1315.