The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has adopted a weight control program for Ohio high school wrestlers. One of the primary factors in promoting proper weight maintenance among high school wrestlers is the development of a weight control program that encourages safe weight loss.
Many states have instituted body composition testing programs in the past several years. The primary purpose of a body composition testing program is to determine the lowest certifiable, safe and healthy weight for each wrestler in order to provide a safe wrestling experience for all high school wrestlers.
A Weight Certification Program program has been developed in response to the need for guidance of young wrestlers as they make decisions about diet, nutrition, and weight control. It has been documented that wrestlers frequently attempt to lose weight rapidly, often in an unhealthy and unsafe manner, to gain a perceived advantage over their opponent.
The Weight Certification Program is designed to assist wrestlers and coaches in avoiding potentially harmful, rapid weight reduction practices utilized to achieve specific weight class participation.
Test #1: Urinalysis
The first step of the testing is a urinalysis, which is required to determine the athlete’s hydration level. Proper level of hydration is important to provide an accurate measurement of body fat percentage. Dehydration will concentrate urine and thereby increase the urine’s specific gravity. Accurate determination of minimum wrestling weight from total body fat requires the wrestler to be properly hydrated. The specific gravity of a hydrated individual will be 1.025 or lower. If the wrestler is dehydrated (i.e. specific gravity of the urine is over 1.025) measurements will not be taken. Testing must be rescheduled for a different time when the wrestler is properly hydrated.
Test #2: Skinfold Measurement
Skinfold measurements are used to predict (on a scientific basis) the lowest healthy weight for wrestlers. The program requires each male and female wrestler to maintain at least 7% or 12% body fat, respectively. The rule does not suggest or urge wrestlers to reduce to 7% or 12% body fat, but rather sets a healthy limit as to how much they can safely reduce. The rule controls the rate of weight loss and the amount of weight that can be lost. Skinfold measurements must be taken by a Certified Wrestling Assessor or Master Assessor.
The staff of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine is able to provide the required urinalysis and skinfold measurement. For information on testing dates and locations, please contact Kevin Brown at (614) 355-6008 or Kevin.Brown@nationwidechildrens.org.