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Table 2 The historical record associated with the search for a minimal wrestling weight (MWW) for scholastic wrestlers

From: Career perspective: Charles M Tipton

Historical record
1. These investigations include The Iowa Wrestling Study (IWS: 1968–1988), the Midwestern Wrestling Study (MWS: 1986–1991) and the Wisconsin Wrestling Minimal Weight Project (WPWMWP: 1989–1998)
2. The IWS includes certification results from 8,900 students, questionnaire findings from 582 students, body measurements from 2,536 subjects, and visitations to approximately 55 high schools. Salient findings were [39-42].
  a. Approximately 40% of the students receive certification to wrestle in weight classes between 119–139 lb (54.06–63.19 kg) whereas 57% of the students become certified to wrestle in weight classes 112–145 lb (50.90–65.90 kg). Consequently, the weight class system creates conditions favoring undesirable practices. A recommendation to have matches with more than one individual per weight class was ignored
  b. The majority of wrestlers believe or practice the following [39,43].
   (1) Performance will not change because of losing weight.
   (2) Other wrestlers and the coach should be consulted on how to make weight
   (3) Local physicians will seldom or never be consulted on how to make weight
   (4) If there is more than 9% of one’s body weight to lose, it is acceptable to use a rubber suit and to exercise in the heat.
  c. We have learned the following:
   (1) Scholastic wrestlers do not lose weight in a systematic manner, most of it is lost in the final days of certification [39]
   (2) The individuals who lose the highest percentage of their body weight are the youngest and located in the lower weight classes [39,41]. Of 747 wrestlers, 8% will lose 10% of their body weight in a few days, and one or two will lose 20% or more in the same time period [39]
   (3) Urinalysis finding indicate finalists are dehydrated before and during the competition as demonstrated by elevated values for specific gravity, osmolarity, potassium, proteins and ketones. The data also showed glomerular filtration rates were reduced [44]
   (4) Although we have recommended a MWW be one with no less than 5% fat [45], we found that 33% of the contestants (N = 47) had fat percentages lower than this value. All were in weight classes lower than 131 lb (54.94 kg) and all were among the youngest of the competitors [45]
3. Since the IMS or IHSAA was unresponsive to our report and its recommendations [46], we (Tipton, Oppliger, Tcheng) organized the MWS and combined forces with investigators from the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio. They were interested in the MWW concept and were active with their respective state associations to implement such a program. Select results were the following [47]:
  a. Developed a scholastic wrestler data base from 860 individuals that included stature, body diameters (n − 7), body circumferences (N = 10), body skinfolds (N = 9), body density, and fat-free mass (FFB).
  b. Used the statistical expertise of Thorland, Lohman, and Tcheng to perform cross validations of 16 different equations plus 9 new ones. We found that the skinfold equation of Lohman [48] was the equation of choice because it had the lowest constant and total errors [47].
4. The availability of a practical MWW equation had an impact on an individual (Herrmann) associated with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and on two physicians associated with the University of Wisconsin (Harms and Landry), all of whom were deeply concerned about the problems of “making weight.” They invited Dr. Oppliger from the University of Iowa to join them and collectively initiated the Wisconsin Wrestling Minimal Weight Project (WWMWP [9]).
  a. WWMWP advocated a 3-year trial period beginning in 1989 using the Lohman equation for a minimum wrestling weight of 7% fat that allowed no more than a loss of 3 lb (1.36 kg) per week which had the full support of Wisconsin Dietetic Association and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. However, the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association was not supportive of the project [49]
  b. In 1991, WIAA mandated all high schools with wrestling programs follow the procedures established by the WWMWP. Besides having the support of parents, wrestlers, administrators, and various associations, it also became accepted by the coaches. It is of interest that by 1994, there was a 6% increase in the number of individuals who became certified [49].
  c. These developments had minimum impact on Iowa officials or on members of the Wrestling Rules Committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA)
5. In 1997, three collegiate wrestlers died in their attempts to “make weight” [10]. According to Casperson [11], an employee of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it was the CDC that “encouraged” the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to instantly modify the rules for the making of weight by collegiate wrestlers
6. In 2005, the NFSHSA mandated that beginning with the 2006–2007 competitive season, all states that implemented a program pertaining to a minimal wrestling weight for high school students that included a body weight that has no less than 7% fat for males and 12% for females would allow no more than a 1.5% loss in body weight per week, while permitting finalists to gain 1 lb (0.45 kg) per day during tournament competition [12].