Mat burn: what is it and how to prevent it

Rolling on the mats is (sadly) not always fun and games. Sometimes the going may get tough and injuries may happen. This is the nature of the sport – and of any sport for that matter. BJJ is all about moving in various ways and the application of bodily strength – and this can sometimes lead to injury. But there is one other oft-neglected way in which you can get injured, and it’s by getting a mat burn. While it may not seem serious at first, if you read more you will realize that it can have very serious consequences if you’re not careful enough with it.

What is mat burn?

So, what is mat burn? Well, it’s a “burn” that you get by the friction that happens as you roll your skin on the mat. The injury that comes as a result of this is equivalent to a first-degree burn, and as such, it’s not that serious in and of itself.

But the fact of the matter is that the mats on which you can get these burns are potential breeding grounds for the potentially deadly MSRA, which is an antibiotic-resistant strain of germs that can end up ruining your health. To top this off, there’s the issue of catching ringworm infections, as well as other kinds of infections as a result of a simple mat burn. So, how do you protect yourself from it?

How to protect yourself from a Mat Burn

Well, the first way to prevent a mat burn from happening is by wearing adequate clothing. You won’t want to roll on the mats with just a t-shirt and shorts. You’ll want to wear long-sleeved clothes that will protect your skin from direct friction with the mats. There’s a reason as to why “rash guards” exist and are heavily used in the world of BJJ. Wearing the gi will offer an even better degree of protection because the material that the gi is made of is a lot dense than that of a rash guard. But either way, you will not be fully immune from mat burns.

So, the best thing to do is to treat the mats with cleaning solutions after every roll session. This will help keep the mats clean from parasites and germs, and you will feel safer. The next thing that you should do is to keep a watchful eye on both your skin and the skin of your potential opponents. If you can see some rashes or pimples – discontinue rolling immediately and go see a doctor – or tell your opponent to go and see a doctor. These diseases are very contagious and they can easily get transmitted through skin contact. The doctor will give you advice on what to do and how to deal with the infection that you may be having.

Safety is of paramount importance when you’re rolling on the mats. Make sure that this is your primary point of interest – and this will help you have a long and prosperous career as a BJJ practitioner. You will be safe from mat burns and germs.