3 types of rashes grapplers must avoid during tournament season

2014-11-28 11:57:38 by Dr. Joe Congeni - Director of Sports Medicine, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

Wrestling Rashes are one of the big problems for wrestlers. CC/Flickr photo by Tom Hagerty

This weekend is the highly anticipated Bill Dies Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Firestone High School. Itís this time of year our office is looking more closely for one of the highly contagious rashes that could disqualify these hard-working grapplers from tournament season.

Today, I had the chance to speak with WAKR morning show host Ray Horner about this topic. We discussed the big 3 rashes ó impetigo, ringworm and herpes ó and how to treat them.

Below is an audio file and transcript of our discussion.

HORNER: Our good friend, Dr. Joe Congeni, now on board with us Sports Medicine Center at Akron Childrenís Hospital. And, weíre gonna do a little grappling this morning, huh, Joe?

DR. CONGENI: Yeah, how about it, Ray? I mean, I think itís a good time of year to shine the spotlight on those hard-working grapplers.

You remember ó you know the name grapplers for wrestlers ó they used to call the runners, this is back in our day, the harriers. Remember what they called the basketball players?

Dr. Joe Congeni Dr. Joe Congeni

HORNER: Um, cagers?

DR. CONGENI: The cagers. You know why they called them the cagers?


DR. CONGENI: Back in the í40s and í50s, they used to play with screening or netting around the court. It was like they were playing in a cage, and thatís where the name cagers came from, but anyway.

HORNER: Very good.

DR. CONGENI: The grapplers are what I want to talk about. Theyíre a hard-working group. They work year-round. Thereís a big tournament this weekend. Everybody knows about The Dies Tournament at Firestone High School.

HORNER: Yeah, awesome.

DR. CONGENI: Yeah, if you get a chance to go over there, . These kids work hard and itís a great tournament, well run.

Itíll be, as usual, the athletic trainers that are there keeping everybody safe. Weíll have docs there too, and Iíll be there. The trainer thatís been there 20 years, keeping people safe, Scott Reisberg, does a great job at Firestone.

But anyway, this time of year, one of the big problems for the wrestlers, the thing they really worry about are the rashes. There are the big 3. They are all different types of rashes; theyíre not all the same.

The reason itís a big problem this time of year, Ray, is, you know, the tournaments are a month away. The tournaments are a big deal, of course, when everybody gets to go down to regionals and state and all that kinda stuff.

If you get a bad rash around this time of year, you could be disqualified for the rest of the year no matter how hard youíve worked year-round if you canít get rid of that rash.

The problem is theyíre very contagious skin-to-skin contact, and the sport we see it in the most is wrestling.

If we see any, early on, weíll treat them early to get rid of Ďem.

The big three rashes weíll be looking for, No. 1 is called impetigo. Impetigo is a bacterial rash. Itís a staph, but it is a staph-sensitive rash. Itís not the MRSA-type; the methicillin resistant-type rash.

It has a yellowish, weepy appearance to it and itís treated with antibiotics. With antibiotics, it gets better real quickly. Impetigo is pretty easy to treat.

But the problem is a lot of people that are unfamiliar with these rashes treat everything with antibiotics. And, the other two rashes donít respond and kids could really struggle with the other two.

No. 2 is ringworm. You remember ringworm. It could start very local, like just on an arm or a hand or a leg. It is a fungal infection, but if it spreads to a lot of areas in the body, itís a lot tougher for us to treat.

When itís in one area, you can cover it and you could put topical antifungal medicine on it. If it spreads throughout the body for a wrestler, we have to put them on medicines by mouth ó antifungals ó that do have some side effects. Theyíre some big deal drugs. So, thatís the second one.

And the third of the big 3, Ray, is herpes. Itís called herpes gladiatorum and itís a viral herpes infection. Itís probably the most serious. Itís the hardest to get rid of, if we can ever get rid of it.

The medicines for the viral herpes, the antiviral medicines ó again, not antibiotics, as they donít work at all ó also have side effects.

So, you really need to know what these rashes are and treat Ďem early. The big fear of those hard-working grapplers is theyíre gonna get one of these right before the tournaments coming up.

But, if you want to see some good wrestling, itís really a fun sport, and this hard-working group of guys, this weekendís Dies Tournament at Firestone High School. It is really well run.

HORNER: Alright, Joe. Good information. Catch up with you next week.

DR. CONGENI: Alright, Ray. Have a great week.

HORNER: You too. Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Childrenís Hospital, with us.

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