Custodians play an essential role in maintaining clean equipment for athletes


Custodian David Hays mops the wrestling mat. Hays said he sometime faces time constraints due to after-school activities. Agrayan Gupta | Photo

The wrestling team practices Monday through Friday, and after every practices, the wrestling mats are usually covered with a lot of sweat, leaving many germs around the wrestling gym.

According to wrestler and junior Joseph Steele, the practices can get very sweaty.

He said, “A lot of the players sweat a lot because first of all, there’s not a lot of air conditioning in the room so it’s very hot and humid. We also do a lot of conditioning in our practices so a lot of sweat is involved. A lot of times (the sweat) gets on the mat and that’s when the custodians come into play.”

Custodian David Hays has worked here for 36 years and is responsible for cleaning the wrestling room. Hays cleans everything off of the wrestling mats including blood and sweat.

Joseph Steele, wrestler and junior, wrestles with a teammate during practice. Steele said he believes wrestling produces more germs than any other sport.
Agrayan Gupta | Photo

Hays said, “The stuff we use is called Re-Juv-Nal. It’s a disinfectant and we use it for blood and we use that on the mats because it will kill (the germs) on the mats and it’ll help disinfect it and clean it.”

Steele said he believes wrestling produces more germs than other sports.

Steele said, “I think wrestling spreads more germs because it’s full skin on skin contact, a lot of sweat is involved; it is one the most sweat grueling sports.”

After each practice, Hays sprays the Re-Juv-Nal on the mat, and uses black fiber pads to clean the sweat and blood off the wrestling mats. The custodians must clean the wrestling mats after each practice to prevent the wrestlers from getting certain skin infections. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, some common skin infections that occur through wrestling are ringworm, impetigo, MRSA and herpetic lesions.

Wrestling Head Coach Edward Pendoski said he believes the custodians do a good job of thoroughly cleaning the wrestling mats so the wrestling team can conduct practices in a clean environment.

Pendoski said, “I think the custodians try hard and do everything they possibly can to clean anything.”

Hays sprays the mat with Re-Juv-Nal spray. Hays said Re-Juv-Nal disinfects and cleans the mats.
Agrayan Gupta | Photo

According to Hays, a big challenge that comes with cleaning the mats is getting them clean before the wrestlers have to practice. After school, Hays sometimes has time restraints when it comes to cleaning the wrestling mat and he has to work quickly to get them ready in time for the practices.

Hays said, “Last week there was a CPR class on the wrestling mats, and I had to clean the mats before the practice. I had to get them done by 3:30, so that made it tough.”

Despite the challenges, Hays said he feels that by cleaning the mats he has an important role in making sure the wrestlers have a clean environment to practice in.

Hays said, “(My role is important) because I have to make sure those mats are clean for the wrestling team. I make sure the mats are cleaned and disinfected and dried before the wrestlers get on with practice.”

Pendoski said the custodians try hard to make sure everything is cleaned correctly, and added that without the custodial program, CHS athletic programs would be negatively affected.

Pendoski said, “The custodians who clean the wrestling room also clean the weight room, they clean the other sports facilities and I think if you took away the greatness of our custodian program you’d run into a whole bunch of problems.”

Despite all the hard work the custodians do around this school, Steele said they are not always properly honored for their hard work. He said he believes students do not appreciate how helpful the custodial staff is to the high school.

Steele said, “I believe (the custodians) are underrecognized. A lot of people do not recognize that their job is as helpful as many other jobs even though it does play a big part in our school.”

However, Pendoski said the wrestling program is very grateful for the custodians at here.

Pendoski said, “I can’t speak for many people outside of the wrestling program, but I can tell you there’s not a day that goes past that the wrestling program isn’t thankful for what the custodians do for all of Carmel High School.”