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May 15, 2020 – USA Wrestling releases Return to the Mat Guidelines to assist wrestling community in making local decisions

USA Wrestling has released the “Return to the Mat Guidelines” document, which are guidelines and recommendations for the wrestling community as it makes decisions on a local level regarding when and how to safely resume wrestling activity.

USA Wrestling Return to the Mat Guidelines

The document was initially drafted by one of USA Wrestling’s special committees created during the pandemic, the Return to Practice and Competition Committee, which includes medical experts and event operations professionals. It has been reviewed by USA Wrestling’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, a group of experts who advise the organization on medical, scientific and government matters pertaining to the novel coronavirus.

This document includes recommendations from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and numerous other sources, including public health agencies and other sports organizations.

As USA Wrestling has suggested since the pandemic began, all individuals should keep themselves updated with the most recent information from their state and local public health department, and follow those local regulations. Club leaders, coaches, parents and individuals must make their own assessments as to the safety of their situations in conjunction with this document.

There are four phases included in the Return to the Mat Guidelines, based upon the situation in local communities. Included in the recommended protocols are specific activities to maintain cleanliness and personal hygiene. In addition to the recommendations, the resources also include two flow diagrams, a flow sheet and the USOPC Self-Monitoring Instructions.

USA Wrestling expects the document may be revised as the pandemic progresses and new or updated information becomes available. The wrestling community is asked to review this document from time to time to assess the guidelines and recommendations.

USA Wrestling is currently working on another document to assist the wrestling community, a Return to Competition Guidelines document, which will be developed and reviewed in the same way as the Return to the Mat Guidelines document.

USA Wrestling Return to the Mat Guidelines

Tony Black

USA Wrestling

Director of State Services

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USAW Annoucment

USA Wrestling suspends sanctioned events through May 24, as Return to Practice and Competition Guidelines being finalized

For release, May 8, 2020 – USA Wrestling suspends sanctioned events through May 24, as Return to Practice and Competition Guidelines being finalized

Based upon its principle of following current advice and direction from local health and government authorities, and with a focus on developing best practices for the return to wrestling, USA Wrestling has extended its suspension of sanctioned events through May 24.

The postponement of national and regional events will remain through July 1 at this time.

At this time, based upon the input of USA Wrestling’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, and through careful review of the national, state and local restrictions concerning the novel coronavirus, USA Wrestling has not identified any situation that would allow competitions to resume yet. 

As the situation concerning the pandemic remains fluid and ever-evolving, USA Wrestling will continue to monitor this closely and pledges to regularly update the wrestling community on changes to its policies.

Based upon the direction of the COVID-19 Advisory Committee, USA Wrestling does not believe there will be one national proclamation that it will be safe to return to practice and competition for wrestling. The organization understands that both the return to practice, as well as the return to competition, will begin at the local level, based upon the situation in that community.

The expected progression of wrestling activity will most probably begin locally, based upon health and government regulations, then move on to state, regional and national activity. The development and mass production of a vaccine could speed up this timeline but even the most optimistic estimates don’t expect a vaccine for many months.

Now is a time that the entire worldwide sports community is focused on developing Return to Practice and Return to Competition protocols. All across the globe, experts in the fields of medicine and public health are working with sports leaders to make recommendations and create guidelines for the resumption of sports activity. It must be recognized that every sport is different from other sports, and that no “one-size-fits-all recommendation” will be adequate for every situation. USA Wrestling believes that specific guidelines should be developed for wrestling, based upon its unique technical situation and its specific health and safety protocols.

Wrestling is well positioned to transition its internal procedures to create the safest environment possible for its participants. Wrestling has already dealt with challenges from infectious disease, due to skin conditions and other such conditions, and has paid as much or more attention to this than any other sport. Wrestling is a leader in this space, with mandatory medical checks before competition already in place at all levels, and a structure which can accommodate new procedures as developed by health and medical experts. The wrestling community is already comfortable with routine medical screening, and understands the importance of compliance with such recommendations. In addition, wrestling has already implemented thorough protocol for cleanliness, which includes providing regularly disinfected competition and training locations and personal hygiene procedures.

With that said, USA Wrestling is close to developing guidelines for the Return to Practice and Return to Competition within its organization. USA Wrestling’s Return to Practice and Competition Subcommittee, led by USA Wrestling’s Director of National Events Pete Isais and featuring medical, public health and event operations leaders, is deep into its work. Its efforts will be reviewed and finalized by its COVID-19 Advisory Committee. This will be made available to the U.S. wrestling community as it makes its decisions on the resumption of activity.

USA Wrestling looks forward to the time when the world has moved past this current pandemic and our sport can return to full operation. In the meantime, everyone in the wrestling community is encouraged to remain engaged with the sport, train at home as possible and follow the regulations of their local government and health authorities.

Tony Black

USA Wrestling

Director of State Services