West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Certain Injuries in Wrestling

This article concerns a rule that may stir up some controversy. It deals with injuries that occur during near-fall situations. Pay careful attention.

Let's begin with the defensive wrestler in a pinning combination. If the offensive wrestler is taking his opponent's back to the mat, and the defensive wrestler screams in pain (or starts bleeding) just prior to near-fall criteria being met, the referee will stop the match and award the offensive wrestler two match points. Should near-fall criteria be met (for only a fraction of a second) just prior to the bottom man being injured, then the top wrestler would receive three near-fall points. This is nothing new, but what I am about to tell you is a new interpretation. Note, when the offensive wrestler is injured (or bleeding) during a pinning situation, the match must be stopped immediately (as above), but he only gets the match points that he has actually earned. Here's where problems could arise. Consider the following. The offensive wrestler is about to place his opponent on his back. At this point, the defensive wrestler accidently elbows the top man, causing a bloody nose. Since the referee must stop the match, no points are scored even thought they were imminent. Even if the referee charges the bottom man with unnecessary roughness, the offensive wrestler still only receives one match point in a situation where he was likely to score two or three points, and possibly a pin. I can see it now. The offensive wrestler's coach may accuse the other coach or wrestler of being unethical, using the action as a tactic to prevent near-fall points or a fall.

Of course, this is just another problem that the official may have to face during a match. All we can hope for are coaches with level heads, who teach the ideals of good sportsmanship. If you have a practical solution to this rule-dilemma, send me your thoughts.

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Updated November 29, 1997