An analysis by Surgical and Wound Care Company, Molnlycke Health Care, shows that high school and college wrestlers that participate in tournaments are 16 times more likely to be exposed to Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Specifically the analysis shows that based on a potential MRSA colonization rate of 25 percent, the average number of matches each wrestler participates in at a tournament (three) and the number of wrestlers exposed to the tournament wrestler when he or she returns to a practice room (six), the potential exposure rate of MRSA from the tournament increases by approximately 16.

Wrestlers are at a higher risk of skin infections with MRSA due to constant skin-to-skin contact, cuts, and use of shared equipment like wrestling mats.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) has been trying to educate coaches and wrestlers about the risk of skin infections with MRSA.

The NWCA have provided the following tips to help decrease the chance of MRSA infection:

• Wrestlers should shower with an antimicrobial antiseptic soap that contains chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) prior to the start of the tournament.
• If a shower is not reasonable, at least have wrestlers wash hands, arms and face with an antimicrobial antiseptic soap that contains CHG prior to wrestling. This represents the primary areas of skin to skin contact during the match.
• Use wipes that contain CHG between or during the match when water is not available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA infections that occur in otherwise healthy people who have not been recently (within the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as dialysis, surgery, catheters) are known as community-associated (CA)-MRSA infections. These infections are usually skin infections, such as abscesses, boils, and other pus-filled lesions.