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Wrestlers Are 16 Times More Likely to Be Exposed to MRSA During Tournament Season

NORCROSS, Ga., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- As high school and college wrestlers return to the mats in preparation for February tournaments and post-season championships, their risk for the skin infection Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) increases significantly.  In fact, wrestlers that participate in tournaments and teammates of wrestlers who participate in tournaments are 16 times more likely to be exposed to MRSA(1).

An analysis by Molnlycke Health Care shows that based on a potential MRSA colonization rate of 25 percent(2), 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.  As an illustration, the 1,200 wrestlers who attended the recent wrestling national duals had as many as 16,200 MRSA exposures (see table 1 for further details).

With more than 250,000 high school wrestlers(3) and 6,000(4) collegiate wrestlers in the U.S., parents, coaches and trainers are an integral part of providing education, awareness and prevention support to help stop the spread of deadly skin infections such as MRSA.  

"We understand the importance of keeping our coaches and their wrestlers educated and aware of skin infections, especially during this important championship season," said Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA).  "Last week, we provided our members with simple, practical tips to help decrease their wrestlers' chances of MRSA infection."  

Tips provided by the NWCA and Molnlycke Health Care include:

  • 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.

Molnlycke Health Care manufactures and distributes Hibiclens®, an antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleanser that contains four percent CHG.  Hibiclens binds to the skin and continues to actively kill germs for up to six hours without leaving a residue.  This is just one way to protect skin between and during competition.  

"Hibiclens has become an integral part in our wrestling program at West Virginia University.  It is the first line of defense for the prevention of skin-related diseases that are so common to our sport.  Our wrestlers have seen first-hand the effectiveness of Hibiclens by showering with it on a daily basis after practice.  We have seen a significant drop in the number of our practices and matches lost to skin diseases," said Kevin Kotsko, assistant athletic trainer, West Virginia University.

Wrestlers are at higher risk for skin infections than other athletes due to the constant skin-to-skin contact and exposure to cuts, sores, bodily fluids and shared equipment, such as mats.  MRSA is spread through direct skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come in contact with the bacteria.  MRSA infections are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils that are red, swollen and painful.  

"We know through clinical testing and from wrestlers themselves that washing with a cleanser that contains CHG prior to a wrestling match can dramatically reduce MRSA infections(5)," said Jack Doornbos, executive director, Molnlycke Health Care.

While Hibiclens can be purchased in bulk through distributors nationwide, it is also now available over-the-counter at drug stores and pharmacies in the first aid section.  Additionally, Hibistat® provides the same cleanser with alcohol in a wipe format for on-the-go needs.  For more information about Hibiclens, Hibistat or CHG or to download free educational materials about MRSA and sports, visit

* Avoid contact with the eyes, ears, and mouth when using Hibiclens on the face.

About Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC

Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC, consists of two divisions – Surgical and Wound Care.  Focusing on prevention of surgically-related infections for both patients and healthcare workers, the Surgical Division (formerly Regent Medical Americas, LLC) encompasses the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of powder-free surgical gloves (Biogel® surgical gloves); the number one supplier (by value) of skin cleanser (Hibiclens® and Hibistat® antiseptics); and BARRIER® protective clothing.  A leader in trauma and pain management, the Wound Care Division's market dynamics are driven by an aging population, higher incidence of pressure ulcers and increased home treatment.  Visit  

Table 1: Potential Wrestler Exposure to MRSA Based on Tournament Involvement

    Exposure to MRSA at Tournament such as National Duals
    Number of Wrestlers                                           1,200
    Estimated Average MRSA Colonization Rate for Wrestlers(2)        25%
    Total Wrestlers Carrying MRSA                                   300
    Number of Matches per Wrestler                                    3
    Exposures at Tournament                                         900
    Return to the Practice Room
    Number of Wrestlers From Primary Group                            3
    Additional Exposures                                          2,700
    Number of Additional Wrestlers in Secondary Live Group (2x3)      6
    Total Exposures from One Tournament                          16,200

(1)  Molnlycke Health Care, Analysis of MRSA Exposure Rates, 2009

(2)  Staph colonization rate in the general population is 30 percent and MRSA is typically 77 percent of staph infections; wrestlers have higher than average MRSA rates based on skin-to-skin contact ( and

(3)  National Federation of State High School Associations, 2007-08 High School Athletics Participation Survey. Accessed on January 25, 2010 through, National Wrestling Coaches Association Wrestling Facts

(4)  NCAA® Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report, 1981-82 through 2006-07,, April 2008. Accessed on January 25, 2010 through, National Wrestling Coaches Association Wrestling Facts

(5)  MHC study #061123-150.01

SOURCE Molnlycke Health Care



SOURCE Molnlycke Health Care
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