Wrestling their way through Covid

Olivia Briggs, Editorial Board Member

Two teams, rolling around, sweaty, on one shared mat: how can this possibly be Covid-safe?

Unlike many other sports, wrestling has always required intense cleaning routines; they’re so thorough that even with Covid-19, not much has changed.

“Our school-provided items are washed and our mats are sprayed down on a daily basis,” senior wrestler Philip Vu said. “This is something we’ve always done in previous years.”

In addition to making sure the equipment and uniforms are clean, the athletes have to be clean too. Because wrestling is a full-contact sport, it’s very easy for disease to spread, especially skin diseases like ringworm. The athletes are required to sanitize after practice—and it’s more than just a shower.

“Every single practice we use these antibacterial body wipes to wipe down our bodies, and then we put our gear in a giant laundry bin to clean,” senior wrestler Isiah Brown said.

Just to make sure everyone is safe, extra precautions are also taken prior to competitions.

“Before wrestling another team, we go through skin checks. This is when the referees just look over your skin for potential disease,” Vu said.

While all of these protective methods have not changed much with the addition of Covid-19, some things have changed.

“We wear masks at every single practice,” Brown said. “We also try to stay as socially distanced as possible until it’s time for one-on-one wrestling.”

It’s hard to stay socially distanced in a full-contact sport, but the athletes are doing what they can.

“One change I’ve noticed is that in the past we usually kneel down around the coach as he teaches a new move, but this year we have to watch from a distance,” Vu said.

While being masked and socially distanced, their practices have also been shortened by 30 minutes, and the team has gotten significantly smaller.

“I think the average size of the team would usually be around 30 people, but this year it reduced to 12,” Vu said.

While keeping safe from a pandemic is difficult in a full-contact sport, Liberty’s wrestling team is working hard to balance safety and the continuation of the sport they love.