Wrestling season poses health concerns

Wartburg head wrestling coach Eric Keller, prepares the wrestling team for their match at Luther by keeping them on track to make their assigned weight class.— Karina Devine/TRUMPET

Wartburg head wrestling coach Eric Keller, prepares the wrestling team for their match at Luther by keeping them on track to make their assigned weight class.— Karina Devine/TRUMPET

As the wrestling season kicks off another year, the wrestlers have to start cutting weight and if not done properly, it could be a fatal task.

According to the New York Times, in 1997 three collegiate wrestlers died after strenuous weight-loss workouts combined with the use of controversial nutritional supplements.

Since then, the NCAA has created regulations for weight-loss among wrestlers.

Although this is the recommended way to lose weight, Wartburg wrestlers like Zack Henaman and Connor Campo said it’s not that easy to follow.

“It’s pretty difficult because when you start cutting weight you start craving all types of food and anything to drink. The fluids are what make it really hard because if you drink a bottle of water then that’s a pound right there,” Campo said.

Wartburg physician’s assistant Megan McMillan, said there is a right way and wrong way to cut weight.

“I think if it’s regulated and the coaches and everybody’s on the same page and they’re getting nutritional counsel and making sure they’re staying healthy while they’re cutting then that’s the right way to do it,” McMillan said.

“At the beginning of the year the wrestlers weigh themselves and do a fat test. With that information, the coaches help figure out the healthiest weight class for the wrestlers to go to,” head wrestling coach Eric Keller said.

“The wrestlers can then proceed to lose weight by following the weight-loss guidelines given by the NCAA and Wartburg.”

According to the Wartburg wrestling handbook, wrestlers are encouraged to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than starving themselves.

“You can’t really afford to have body fat on you. If you are carrying extra weight, it’s going to change the way your body moves and in wrestling that’s hard,” Keller said.

When losing weight isn’t done properly, there can be some negative side effects.

“If I wait until the last minute to cut weight, then I get kind of tired and it can be a little hard to focus in my classes. But it’s better off to just follow the cutting rules so then I don’t feel like crap,” Campo said.

Keller agreed with Campo.

“If you are cutting weight the right way, you should be balanced.

“If you are eating the right things and getting the extra work outs in then it shouldn’t have a negative effect in any other area of your life like in your relationships or classwork,” Keller said.

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