South Orangetown Central School District

During his distance learning downtime, Tappan Zee High School junior Max Greisberg has been disseminating the results of an independent research study he conducted over the past two years.

“I’ve been looking into ways to reduce the biggest risk to wrestlers and other close contact athletes: skin infections,” Greisberg explains. “Before the epidemic, I participated in close contact sports and acquired a skin infection. My goal is to share my work nationally to help reduce the rates of infection. I want to help prevent this from happening to anyone else.”

His study consists of three parts: analysis of bacterial samples collected from wrestling mats at two different schools, a meta-analysis of scientific literature for key concepts and recommendations and a survey of coaches designed to compare current practices with the literature. A key finding of his research is that using a flat mop with direct application of disinfectant achieves the lowest bacterial load levels. “However, a large number of microorganisms remain in the grooves or sections of wrestling mats, even after disinfection,” Greisberg notes. “My current suggestion to reduce athletes’ risk of exposure is to cover the seams and grooves in the mats.”

Greisberg enrolled in the Science Research course this year to carve out dedicated time to pursue this project and receive support. To date, he has presented his project at both the Tri-County Science and Technology Fair and the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair, and written and submitted two separate papers for publication. One paper, “Current Concepts in Decreasing the Incidence of Skin Infections in Close Contact Athletics” has been accepted for publication by the “The Sport Journal,” a peer-reviewed journal published by the United States Sports Academy.

“My plan is to prepare a paper for submission to the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the National Wrestling Coaches Association,” Greisberg says. In the meantime, he plans to discuss his work with SOCSD Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics Bill Pilla.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes is of paramount importance and it’s awesome that Max is so committed to protecting fellow athletes,” says Pilla. “He has really done a lot of research and I look forward to learning more about his work.”

Max Greisberg