In the wake of the deaths of three college wrestlers, the National Federation of State High School Associations is implementing what it describes as "monumental" new weight management rules for the 2006-2007 seasons.
Discouraging rapid weight loss
The most important new rule, Rule 1.3, sets up stronger guidelines intended to discourage the kind of rapid weight loss that was allowed under the old rule and which may have contributed to the deaths of the college wrestlers. The revised rule requires:
A hydration level not to exceed 1.025
A body fat assessment no lower than 7 percent for boys and 12 percent for girls
A monitored, weekly weight loss plan limiting weekly weight loss to 1.5 percent of total body weight per week.
The new rule will require student wrestlers to plan in advance if they want to lose weight by eliminating drastic measures that result in a weight loss of more than 1.5 percent per week.
Discouraging rapid weight gain
In the spirit of good weight management, the NFHS has also revised Rule 4-5-5 governing in-competition weight gain. Under the old rule, wrestlers were permitted to gain a pound for each day of a multi-day competition. The revised rule limits weight gain to two pounds, regardless of the number of consecutive days a wrestler spends competing.
The new rules also require the presence of Certified Weight Management Assessors at all wrestling competitions to monitor athletes. In order to obtain certification, athletic trainers are required to attend a training session that includes an overview of weight management, hydration, and the use of calipers, and demonstrate that they can do perform proper weight assessments on athletes.
Allows for nutritious diet
Speaking of the new rules, Dave Carlsrud, assistant executive secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association and chairperson of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee said they "represent a monumental change in wrestling because wrestlers will maintain their strength and muscle mass and only burn fat. Since we now have a weight management plan, instead of a weight cutting plan, our high school athletes can eat a nutritious diet."
For more on the new rules, check with your son or daughter's wrestling coach and/or the school's athletic trainer.
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