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.