A 2008 article by Yard et al in The American Journal of Sports Medicine calculated rates of injury among high school and college wrestlers during the 2005-2006 season using the High School Reporting Information Online (RIOTM) and the NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS).   It also characterized the incidence and type injuries and compared risk factors for high school and college wrestling injuries.

There were 387 injuries among participating high school wrestlers during 166,279 athlete-exposures, for an injury rate of 2.33 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures (AE).

258 injuries occurred among college wrestlers during 35,599 athlete-exposures, for an injury rate of 7.25 injuries per 1000 AE.  The injury rate was higher in college than in high school.

Injury rates were higher in matches than in practices for both high school and college.

Strains/sprains accounted for approximately half of all high school (48.1%) and college (49.2%) injuries.  The most common high school injury sites were the shoulder (18.6%) and knee (15.4%) while the knee (24.8%), shoulder (17.8%), and head/face (16.6%) were most common in college.

The most frequent high school injuries were:

  • Shoulder strains/sprains (8.5%),

  • Ankle strains/sprains (7.6%),

  • Knee strains/sprains (7.0%)

  • Trunk strains/sprains (6.0%)

  • Neck strains/sprains (5.4%)

  • Concussions (5.4%).

The most frequent college injuries were:

  • Knee strains/sprains (17.1%),

  • Shoulder strains/sprains (8.1%),

  • Shoulder dislocations/subluxations (8.1%),

  • Head/face lacerations (7.4%),

  • Ankle strains/sprains (7.0%),

  • Concussions (5.8%),

  • Trunk strains/sprains (5.0%),

  • Upper leg/hip strains/sprains (5.0%).

In both high school and college, similar proportions of injured wrestlers resumed wrestling in:

  • Less than 1 week (44.9% and 42.6%, respectively),

  • 1-3 weeks (29.1% and 30.2%)

  • >3 weeks (26.0% and 27.1%, respectively).

Takedowns and sparring were the most commonly cited activities leading to injury for both high school and college.  Skin infections represented 8.5% of all reported high school adverse events and 20.3% of all reported college adverse events.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.