True weight of wrestling; Athletes resort to unhealthy habits

Katie Kettell, Sports Editor

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From bathing in salt, wearing trash bags, and taking laxatives, some wrestlers resort to some wacky techniques in order to cut enough weight for their upcoming seasons.
While wrestlers are most likely focusing on the short term when it comes to losing this much weight in such a short period of time, there are possible long term effects that can cause damage far after the season.
Often wrestlers need to cut a lot of weight in a very short period of time in order to make weight [their weight class]. Traditional weight loss techniques like dieting and exercise are not methods that work for wrestler. “Wrestlers usually resort to different methods because it is much less difficult to do them than it is to fast or cut out junk food. Normal dieting is not usually enough because most are meant for long term weight loss, not short term,” Will Sadowski, former North Harford wrestler and current University of Maryland Baltimore County wrestler stated.
Over 75 percent of young wrestlers have practiced dehydration for weight loss, according to Vanderbilt University. Severe dehydration can severely damage your kidneys and heart, as shown in 1997 when three wrestlers from Campbell University,Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Michigan University passed away from weight loss, reports Livestrong.com.
Dr. Lisa Kotler of Columbia University recorded that 75 percent of wrestlers also used frequent fasting to drop the weight, which is considered anorexia, an eating disorder.  She also reported that about 8 percent of wrestlers purge, which is considered bulimia.
Robin Staub-Grundstein, a licensed dietician in Athens notes the many problems that can stem from this rapid weight loss. “It can cause electrolyte imbalance, muscle wasting and dehydration,” she said. “A lot of times what they are losing with those drastic things is water weight. That is the biggest concern. It could cause damage to the heart if you do it long enough and prolonged enough. Any time you take drastic measures, it is dangerous.”
In contrast, Sadowski believes that there can also be good effects from cutting weight. “Cutting weight usually makes me very tired, but it has tons if health benefits. Fasting gets rid of older fat in your body that usually does not get used up with normal diet and exercise. Also when I get off of cutting, I need significantly less food to make it through the day,” said Sadowski.
According to Sadowski, wrestlers usually end up regaining the weight they lost once the season is over. “During wrestling season, a lot of the fat and water weight you lose is replaced by muscle, making it harder to lose for the upcoming seasons. Also, in high school everyone is still growing, too,” Sadowski said. It’s a vicious fluctuation cycle of losing, gaining, and losing again, according to Livestrong.com. Wrestlers make a big deal out of it [cutting weight]  because it sets us apart from other athletes,” Sadowski stated,  “You have to be mentally and physically tough to wrestle.”

Verdict is in: juveniles judge

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True weight of wrestling; Athletes resort to unhealthy habits