I am a retired local pediatrician writing in defense of Dr. Michael Terranova in his stand opposing coed high school wrestling.
As noted in The Buffalo News, he was recently terminated as Lancaster’s school physician because he refused physical clearance to a female student wishing to wrestle on the usually all-male team.
A female relative of this girl has been similarly refused in the past by Terranova in her quest to wrestle with boys. At that time, the school board overruled their school doctor’s decision, and did allow her to wrestle. She did go on to enjoy an outstanding wrestling career that continues to this day. I applaud her success, but that fact does not belie the point I wish to make, and that is asking males to wrestle females puts the male at a distinct disadvantage.
I believe that young men are still brought up to respect a woman’s body, especially her private zones. Thus most young male wrestlers might be unwilling to apply holds that would involve placing a hand or arm in a zone that they consider taboo.
I applaud Terranova for his standing. I also applaud the young women who would wrestle. My answer to this quandary would be to offer females their own wrestling teams at the 7th and 8th grade middle school and high school levels. Athletic directors and boards of education should consider this possibility.
Albert Maggioli, MD