The possible dangers of wrestling


Spartan Shield

Senior Eli Lloyd attempts to pin opponent at North Scott wrestling meet.

Jack Young, Photo Manager

More than 50 percent of high school wrestlers get injured per season. This is a groundbreaking  number. However, is wrestling as dangerous as it is often portrayed? 

Cutting weight is a major part of the sport. Often times athletes must cut weight in order to wrestle in a desired weight class. The amount of weight needed to cut varies from every wrestler, some needing to lose three pounds, others five. “The most weight I’ve seen someone cut … was 25 pounds. It took them about one and a half months, but they got it done,” senior Jake Bradley said. 

Eyebrows are often raised when wrestlers cut large amounts of weight because of the harm it can do on the body. In order to make it as safe as possible for the athlete, the IHSAA has implemented new rules and restrictions on cutting weight. “There is a rule that has taken place recently where the coaches must measure the body fat of each wrestler and it goes into a computer system and a wrestler cannot go under a certain body fat percentage while cutting weight,” wrestling coach Jake Larsen said. 

In an attempt to help wrestlers with making weight, athletes are given a two pound allowance. Wrestlers receive the two pound allowance after extended periods off such as winter break. Once returning from break, the athlete has two extra pounds to work with while trying to make weight.

Skin diseases  are also common in wrestling due to the warm, moist rooms and bacteria produced by the sweat. “We have had four cases of skin disease this year,” Bradley said.

This number has been decreasing over the past few years because of how much the athletes are pressed by their coaches to help prevent it. “We make sure the wrestlers shower after practice, clean their equipment and also we clean the mats,” Larsen said. 

As time moves forward, there are more rules added to provide extra safety to athletes. “When I wrestled, we didn’t have any concussion protocol, it just wasn’t something you would see,” Larsen said. “We also didn’t have any extra time to check a wrestler out if they get injured in a match.”

Ultimately, every sport has its dangers. Some have more than others; it is part of the risk of involving yourself within the sport. Although athletes can put themselves at risk of certain harmful things while wrestling, coaches, referees and wrestlers are doing everything they can in order to prevent as much as possible.