February 26, 2016
1 min read

Wrestlers incur most skin infections among high school athletes

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Recent research in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicated that skin infections among high school athletes most commonly occurred in wrestlers, along with other important epidemiological data regarding sports-related skin infections.

“This study describes skin infections in high school athletes using data captured from a large national sample of athletes participating in multiple sports over a multiyear study period,” Teresa R. Johnson, PhD, of the department of medical education at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “Skin infections are common in high school sports and in some sports can result in significant time loss from participation. Thus it is of utmost importance to understand rates and patterns of skin infections in high school athletes in order to drive effective evidence-based prevention efforts.”

Teresa Johnson

Teresa R. Johnson

The researchers gathered skin infection data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study from the 2009-2010 to the 2013-2014 school years. Athletic trainers were sent weekly email reminders to enter exposure data for the assigned sports. The rates of infection were calculated by comparing the amount of athlete-exposures to the amount of injuries. Infections were defined as any skin-related infection that resulted in time lost from participation in athletic activities.

Study data showed that of the nearly 21 million athlete exposures recorded during the study, 474 skin infections were reported, for a prevalence rate of 2.27 per 100,000 athlete exposures. Almost 74% of the skin infections occurred in wrestlers, with an incidence rate of 28.56 per 100,000 athlete exposures. Football, which accounted for 17.9% of skin infections, showed an incidence rate of 2.32 per 100,000 exposures.

Skin infections made up 1.2% of all sports-related injuries recorded; however, skin infections accounted for 12.4% of all wrestling injuries.

Bacterial infections were the most common (60.6%), followed by tinea infections (28.4%), and herpetic lesions (5.2%). The head and face were the most commonly affected body part, accounting for 25.3% of all incidents, followed by the forearm (12.7%).

Sports continue to play an immense role in the lives of U.S. high school students,” Johnson and colleagues wrote. “This information should promote awareness and help drive targeted, evidence-based prevention efforts.” – by David Costill

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.