Thousands of wrestling sectional matches 'back on' - CBS 5 - KPHO


Thousands of wrestling sectional matches 'back on'

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(Source: AIA) (Source: AIA)

Thousands of wrestling matches are back on! The Arizona Interscholastic Association has decided it's safe for those student-athletes across the state to get back on the mats in their quest to qualify for state.

At the same time, CBS 5 News is getting a clearer understanding of what possible types of skin lesions halted the AIA's wrestling sectionals last weekend.

Maricopa County Public Health is investigating five schools that were involved in a wrestling event on January 24th and 25th. At least 15 wrestlers, who participated in that event, have been reported as having skin lesions. It's a number that could rise. And for the first time we're hearing the antibiotic-resistant infection MRSA could be involved.

"The Maricopa County health department is looking at information related to herpes, impetigo, and as of last night, we did receive an email with regard to a possible MRSA infection," explained AIA COO Chuck Schmidt.

MRSA is an infection that's resistant to some antibiotics.

The skin lesion outbreak has been enough for the AIA to change the way it does business. Every wrestler will now undergo a skin check at matches, but not by a school official, like it has been done in the past. "We will have athletic trainers and, or qualified medical professionals to check every students as they are going through, getting ready to participate," Schmidt explained.

Any students with a skin lesion won't be allowed to wrestle.

Furthermore, Schmidt says AIA officials discovered there needs to be a more proactive way for coaches, parents, and students to report any sort of skin infection to the AIA as well as Maricopa County Public Health.

"...Get those questions on the front end, as oppose to after, and be able to act appropriately in looking at what schools are where, looking at tournaments, sending out information, etc.," Schmidt added.

While public health officials investigate what the lesions are, Schmidt says he is relieved the AIA's 5,000 sectional matches are only a week behind.

"The focus is move forward with the state tournament, and again crown a state champion here in the coming weeks."

Public health officials told CBS 5 News on Tuesday they are hearing different information and diagnoses from private doctors, parents, and coaches. The health department is right now trying to talk with students who may have had a skin infection. In the meantime, the wrestling matches will go on.

Here's the plan for the wrestling tournaments from the AIA:

  • Division 3 and 4 sectionals have been canceled and an expanded State Wrestling Tournament is now set for this Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. You can watch live scoring and view the brackets here. You can also download the program for free at
  • Division 1 and 2 sectional wrestling tournaments are this Saturday at their original locations.
  • Division 1 and 2 State Tournaments will be held next Friday and Saturday, February 21st and 22nd, also in Prescott Valley.

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