Proper Hygiene for the Wrestler and MMA Athlete
Guidelines to Minimize Infectious Diseases
National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee
Preparation for competition in any sport requires proper training and practice. Whether it
means preparing your body or maintaining your equipment, proper preparation is
necessary. Keeping your body and equipment clean is part of that process. Infectious
diseases do propagate and are easily transmitted in the sports environment. Contact sports
and those with heavy amounts of equipment are more prone than others, but needless to
say, proper hygiene is necessary in all sports to reduce the potential of transmitting these
agents. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee realizes these issues and has
helped establish guidelines to educate the sporting and medical community about their
presence and means to reduce transmission of sports related infectious diseases.
Proper Hygienic Practices
1. Shower immediately after each practice or competition. Use your own
bottled soap and towel and don’t share them with others, let alone other
toiletries. Studies have shown that transmission of infectious diseases can
occur when these items are shared with other athletes.
2. Don’t share water bottles. Viruses and bacterial infections can be easily
transmitted via a shared bottle.
3. Don’t perform cosmetic shaving. Needless shaving of the chest or legs or
genital areas have been associated with increased outbreaks of Methicillin-
Resistant Staphylococcal aureus (MRSA). Consider cropping or closely
trimming the areas if necessary.
4. Wash equipment on a routine basis. Work-out clothing after each practice.
Consider washing smaller pads (for knees or elbows) on a weekly basis or if
soiled with contaminated material, each day. Larger pads, such as those in
Hockey or Football, should be disinfected (1:100 solution of household
bleach and water) on a routine basis. More frequently if soiled with blood or
bodily fluids. Commercial equipment utilizing detergents or ozone for
decontamination could also be considered.
5. Don’t let abrasions or open sores go without evaluation by your coach or
Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). Be sure to keep them clean and covered
with proper dressings.
6. Inform your coach or ATC about any suspicious lesion at the beginning of
practice. Consider withdrawal from practice or competition until the lesion
is evaluated by your Health Care Provider (HCP). If it is considered
infectious, wait to return to competition until it has cleared by your HCP.
Also have other team mates evaluated for such lesions and cared for in the
7. Don’t use a whirlpool or cold tub with any open wounds, scrapes or
8. Shower before using whirlpools or common tubs.