Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest sports. It has roots in ancient human cultures and traditions and is still widely practiced today. If you’re considering wrestling as a high school sport of choice, read on to discover potential dangers.   

Wrestling can be dangerous for high school athletes due to the highly demanding physical requirements. However, wrestlers are in less danger with proper safety procedures. There is minimal danger when athletes follow health and safety guidelines, wear protective gear, and train appropriately.  

The rest of this article will explain a few subjects related to this topic to help you discover just how dangerous high school wrestling is. 

What Are the Dangers of Wrestling?

So, you want to get into high school sports, specifically wrestling. Great! Now the question is, just how dangerous is high school wrestling? 

The most common danger of wrestling is possible injury. The most common wrestling injuries are sprains, abrasions, cauliflower ear, nosebleeds, and concussions. The risk of injury increases with the wrestlers’ ages because of the increased contact force and size of athletes.

Wrestling originated as early as 5000 B.C.E. Even ancient Greeks in 708 B.C.E. were active wrestlers. This sport has become iconic in the world of sports for hundreds of years. But is it too dangerous to participate in? 

This article from an Oregon University found in a 2006 study that the most common types of injury in high school wrestlers were sprains or strains. While sprains and strains are painful, they are not particularly dangerous for athletes. In addition, sprains and strains tend to heal quickly, pending proper care.       

What Is Wrestling’s Rate of Injury?

Most injuries that occur among wrestlers are mild – like sprains or nosebleeds. Yet, some argue that the prevalence of injury is more telling of the possible dangers of the sport than the type of injury.  

Wrestling’s rate of injury varies between age groups of participants. However, within both high school and collegiate levels of wrestling, the injury rate was between 2 and 30 injuries per 1,000 competitions. 

Almost all injuries sustained from wrestling are the result of a lack of adherence to proper safety precautions. For example, if a wrestler exhibits poor positioning, no safety gear, or doesn’t follow basic health guidelines, they are putting themselves at risk of injury.  

According to Active and Safe, an estimated two injuries will occur on a high school wrestling team of 12. This estimated injury rate occurs over four months.  

In short, yes, high school wrestling can be dangerous, but most of the injuries sustained are mild and typically above the waist. To discover what types of injuries are the most common, read on.   

Common Wrestling Injuries

Wrestling is an extremely physically demanding activity. It is also a high contact sport. This leads to increases in sprains, contusions, and dislocations as common wrestling injuries.  

Most wrestling injuries can be avoided with proper safety gear and by following health and safety precautions. But, the following list is some of the most common injuries in wrestlers, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado

  • Sprains. It’s usually seen in the elbow or shoulder resulting from the take-down and referee’s positions
  • Muscle strains. It’s usually in the lower back
  • Cauliflower ear. A deformed outer ear from friction or blunt force trauma to the ears that have been left untreated
  • Skin infections.  Ringworm and herpes gladiatorum are common among wrestlers. 

While these injuries, and other less common injuries, can be dangerous to wrestlers, many are preventable. 

Training and regular practice are standard expectations of athletes. But is there an increased risk of injury for practicing too much? What about weight loss? Can that add to the dangers of high school wrestling?  

Read on to discover how to prevent these common injuries.     

Wrestling Safety Tips

Wrestling is physically demanding. Following these tips can help prevent you from having a severe injury.  

  • Always wear headgear. No matter what your ability level is, wearing headgear is essential. Wrestlers who consistently wear protective headgear appropriately typically don’t experience cauliflower ear. They also are less likely to suffer a concussion or other head injury. 
  • Avoid extreme positions. Limit twisting on knees to prevent sprains, strains, and more severe injuries like a torn meniscus. While referees monitor potentially dangerous positions during matches, you should watch yourself during practices.
  • A proper diet is a must. Eating a balanced diet will help ensure that you are in optimal condition for competitions. Also, don’t forget to get plenty of water. Dehydration and dietary deficiencies can lead to more dangerous conditions. 
  • Follow proper hygiene recommendations. Don’t share soap, towels, razors, or other personal items with others. Sharing hygiene items can lead to an increased risk of skin infections. 

Final Thoughts

While wrestling does have a high injury rate, the most common injuries sustained tend to be mild. Also, it’s important to remember that following safety measures and precautions will protect you while you compete in one of the oldest human sports.

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