Dec 1, 2022
Losing Weight Quickly Increases Injury Risks to Wrestlers

When wrestlers use tactics like “crash dieting” to lose weight quickly before a match to make weight, they are more like to increase the risk of injury according to a new study.

The study, entitled “Association of in-competition injury risk and the degree of rapid weight cutting prior to competition in Division I collegiate wrestlers,” was published online in The British Journal of Sports Medicine in October and conducted by the University of Wisconsin research team.

The study found that while weight-cutting is thought to give those wrestling a competitive disadvantage, dehydration contributes to higher risks of injury.

A recent story from detailed the findings of the study. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The researchers designed their study to measure the extent to which weight cutting is associated with subsequent wrestling injury risk. They pulled data on a cohort of collegiate wrestlers over seven competitive seasons and documented changes in weight, body fat, and lean mass. All measurements were taken in the preseason, at midseason, and before the competition.

Forty-six of the 67 division 1 collegiate wrestlers experienced 53 unique injuries while in competition. The researchers found no difference in absolute weight change, percent weight change, percent body fat change, or percent lean mass change between injured and non-injured wrestlers from the preseason to midseason measurements.

From midseason to competition weight change in body weight was -7.0%±3.2% (-5.3 kg±2.6) in injured athletes compared with -5.7%±3.3% (-4.3 kg±2.5) in non-injured athletes.

For every kilogram of body weight lost, wrestlers had a 14% increased hazard of injury (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.25, p = 0.004).

In addition, wrestlers had an 11% increased hazard of injury (HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.19, p = 0.005) for every 1% of body weight lost.

Overall, rapid weight cutting was associated with a higher risk of in-competition injuries in division 1 collegiate wrestlers, the researchers found.

To read the full story from about the study, click here. 

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