5 Stages of Skin Grief: A wrestling coach’s struggle

5 Stages of Skin Grief: A wrestling coach’s struggle

By Dan Seidenberg
Founder of wrestlingreality.com

If I were to ask you how to defend a take down you can probably list more ways than one. If I were to ask you how to escape from bottom you can most likely answer without hesitation, but if I were to ask you how you counter funk do you have an answer? Oh, and by the way I’m not talking about the funk you use defend a high crotch even though your coach has yelled at you a thousand times to stick your baseline defense. I’m talking about skin funk; the kind that follows you off the mat out of the wrestling room and causes skin disease and bacteria, ultimately ruining your day, possibly your week, and maybe the entire season if it’s bad enough. Basically, skin funk is the bane of wrestling’s existence; it was born on the mat molded by it. Fortunately, Matguard is your ally and can help protect your team from these health issues. So, before I tell you how to prevent skin disease and bacteria, let’s take a look at the trials and tribulations coaches usually go through when skin funk attacks their wrestling program.


There you are in practice preparing for a big match. Your weight is good, you’re working hard, and you can’t wait to compete…then suddenly your partner says “dude what’s that”. So, you glance down at your leg for a quick second and instantly look away, but not before spotting what you already suspected…a serious skin funk situation. Now that the issue has presented itself it is time to break the news to your coach so the grieving process can begin.

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Since the birth of the great sport of wrestling skin disease has always been an issue. It lurks in the shadows taking wrestlers off the mat at the worst of times, and is thus a coach’s worst nightmare. As a result, a coach’s initial reaction is usually denial. “You’re fine it is probably just a scratch or some eczema, it will be gone by tomorrow you will be good to go for the match”. Whether they are trying to convince you or themselves is unclear…but it is probably both.

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Coaches always have a lot of their mind, especially when they are getting ready for a match. When you walk into the locker room the day after the initial skin funk sighting there is a chance their denial has caused them to forget about it…that is until the trainer tells them you can’t wrestle. At this point nothing your coach says or does will be rational. They might yell, they might scream, and they will most definitely place the blame on you; your best bet is to just keep your mouth shut and let them vent.

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The coach looks around the locker room and realizes that without you there is a major hole in the lineup, and the chances of the team winning are slim. Panic sets in; this is where they get desperate. “What if we double the dose of cream? Or wait we can tape it! Or better yet burn it! It is probably just ring worm; if we burn it off and he doesn’t use that leg can he wrestle!?” Again, just let him vent the trainer won’t let him burn it off…usually

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It may take a little while, but your coach will eventually realize lighting your leg on fire may cost them their job. At this point they have to come to terms with the fact that you are not going to wrestle. They will no longer scream, you won’t hear them shout, nor beg nor plead. Instead, they remain oddly quiet as they sulk, and refuse to make eye contact with you giving off a depressing vibe that says “I’m not mad at you just disappointed” as if it is all your fault…which may be true some extent, but we will get to that in a little bit.

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You’re out of the lineup; there is no backup at your weight and the team is forced to give up 6 points. Your coach is still not okay with it, he is not happy, but there is a match to be wrestled and he has no choice but to accept it and move on. Eventually your skin will clear up; you will be back on the mat and even though your team lost the biggest match of the year because of you, everything will go back to normal…that is unless it happens again.

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So what can you do, you ask? How can you prevent skin funk from taking you and your coach on this horrible roller coaster of emotions? It is quite simple.

Our team at Matguard USA recommend that everyone use an approved body cleanser before and after every match, practice or contact activity and in conjunction with  “Wiping or Spraying” down during the daily training sessions.

To further help and protect your children and athletes from harmful germs and bacteria, follow the suggestions below. Together we can pin the funk!

 1. Please make sure your child uses a body wipe or spray often and everyday

2. Please make sure they shower when they get home and always wash their hands.

3. Please make sure to wash thoroughly all singlet’s, towels and warm-ups.

4. If they show signs of a skin infection, please call the Coach or Athletic Trainer to have them checked out.

5. Stress the importance of good hygiene when using bathrooms and facilities

6. Make germ and bacteria protection part of the Athlete’s everyday routine.Stress Importance, Use everyday, Reinforce Example (SURE), as in set a good example for other team-mates that guarding against skin issues is everybody’s responsibility!

Matguard USA recommend that  each wrestler purchase a package ofMatguard Body Wipes or a Body Spray prior to the start of the season in order to adhere to a good personal hygiene regimen. What’s separates Matguard from the rest? Matgaurd products contain patented properties which combined with high level alcohol have proven to be immutable, meaning once the bacteria is destroyed no trace of the bacteria is left behind for the bacteria to learn how to modify. Don’t forget that it’s also the Coaches job to keep your kids safe. Please help us by maintaining good disease prevention habits!

For more information visit www.pinthefunk.com and join us in our “got funk?” campaign in raising skin disease awareness and eliminating the FUNK off the mats, sports equipment and storage areas! TOGETHER WE CAN PIN THE FUNK!