Objective: To evaluate the clinical diagnostic skills of healthcare providers treating skin infections in Minnesota high school wrestlers.
Design and Setting: Collected data from the Minnesota State Wrestling 3-class tournament over a 10-year period from 1997 through 2006.
Patients: Male wrestlers 13 to 18 years of age who have qualified by placing first or second in their section tournaments.
Interventions: On-site physicians screen athletes that have suspicious lesions and review those who have already been seen by their local healthcare providers. Athletes are allowed to compete if their lesions are considered noninfectious.
Main Outcome Measurements: After review of the data, a distinct difference was noted with the number of skin infections seen in the larger schools compared to the smaller ones. Review of the Minnesota Medical Association's data base for available healthcare providers was correlated with the communities these infected wrestlers were from.
Results: Each of the 3 classes had 238 participants each year. A total of 299 skin infections were recorded over this 10-year period. Analysis of class comparison and number of skin infections reveals a significant difference, with class A (smaller schools) having 81 infections compared to class AAA (larger schools) having 119, P = 0.0076. Comparison of healthcare providers finds a distinct difference with the smaller communities having 1.5 providers per town compared with larger schools having 66.4 providers per town.
Conclusion: Continuity, not availability, of healthcare is necessary to properly control skin infections in high school wrestling.