Jan 29, 2015
Weighty Wrestling Rules

After years of dialogue, a nationwide minimum weight requirement for all high school wrestlers will soon become a reality. In an effort to make the sport safer, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee is requiring every state to implement a weight-management program by the start of the 2006-07 season.

Under the new rules, wrestlers will be assigned a safe minimum weight based on a body fat percentage of no less than seven percent for males and 12 percent for females. Safe minimum weights will be valid only when an athlete is measured while fully hydrated (having a specific gravity measurement above 1.025 at the time of their assessment). A wrestler will not be allowed to lose more than 1.5 percent of his or her weight per week and cannot fall below his or her safe minimum weight at any point during the season. In addition, wrestlers will be allowed to gain only two pounds during a multi-day meet, no matter how many days the competition lasts.

Athletic trainers in states that have already implemented similar rules have found themselves on the front line of efforts to keep wrestlers safe. Only trained assessors—typically school athletic trainers and area medical professionals—will be allowed to conduct the initial measurements that establish safe minimum weights. The Florida High School Athletic Association initially trained 65 medical professionals as “master assessors,” who then trained over 130 additional people as assessors throughout the state. In New Jersey, seminars were held to train area athletic trainers and medical doctors.

More information on the NFHS weight-management program can be found in the “Sport & Rules Information” section of the NFHS Web site: www.nfhs.org.

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