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High School & College Wrestling NWCA Weight Management Program. Brian Waiter MS, ATC Co-Head Athletic Trainer Carlisle High School. Past History for Weight Management and Wrestling at the College Setting. Previous Protocol

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High school college wrestling nwca weight management program

High School & College Wrestling NWCA Weight Management Program

Brian Waiter MS, ATC

Co-Head Athletic Trainer

Carlisle High School



  • Previous Protocol College Setting

  • Prior to 1999 there were no wrestling certifications for specific weight classes.

  • Individuals could wrestle at preferred weight class.

  • No limitations on jumping from one class to the next.




Previous Protocol School Setting

  • The year 2000 wrestler was certified by physician.

  • Could change wrestling weight class from week to week.

  • In 2003 rule changes required athletes to wrestle 50 percent of matches at certified weight.


Problems School Setting

  • Extreme Weight Loss/Yo-Yo Dieting

  • Unhealthy Eating Habits

  • In March 2004, a high school wrestling coach in the southeastern part of the United States was being investigated by the Sheriffs Department for child abuse charges stemming from overseeing inappropriate weight loss activities of a wrestler.




  • Rationale for Implementation of NWCA Weight Management Program

  • Elimination of all weight control practices that could potentially risk the health of wrestlers.

  • Focus on competition, not weight loss.

  • Recommendation should be practical, enforceable, and scientifically based.



  • Purpose of Raw Data Assessments Wrestler

  • Put safeguards into place that would identify the lowest allowable weight class.

  • Establish a safe weight loss descent plan.



  • New regulations for college wrestling allowed an individual to only lose 1 ¼ percent of his overall body weight.

  • College wrestlers were not able to go below 5 percent body fat during each wrestling season.

  • If a college wrestler’s body fat was below the 5 percent minimum, the person needed an authorized medical examiner to sign off to indicate that it is natural for this individual.



  • Introduction of Weight Management Program to High School Wrestling

  • Prior to Pennsylvania joining New Weight Management Program, 35 of 50 states had started to use it.

  • Weight Management Program got its start in Pennsylvania by individual wrestlers trying it on their own in 2005-2006 season.


  • Introduction of New Weight Program Wrestling

  • By the start of 2006-2007 wrestling season the PIAA and NFHS makes the new weight management program mandatory.

  • Prior to use of NWCA Weight Management Program there were no limitations on how much weight a wrestler could lose per week.




  • Qualifications to be Trained Assessor school level who are below the 7 percent body fat minimum during the initial assessment must get an signature of authorized medical examiner indicating that the individuals current body fat is natural

  • Each state identifies master assessors that are certified athletic trainers.

  • Master assessors train others to go to local sites to assess wrestlers.

  • Pennsylvania’s master assessors include: Larry Cooper, ATC (West) John Moyer, ATC (East)


  • Professions Eligible for Training school level who are below the 7 percent body fat minimum during the initial assessment must get an signature of authorized medical examiner indicating that the individuals current body fat is natural

  • Authorized Medical Examiners

  • Authorized Medical Examiners may include: licensed physician of medicine or osteopathic medicine, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or school nurse practitioner, athletic trainers, or other Allied Health Care professionals of member school sport medicine staffs determined by school physician and principal of school.


  • Requirements for Becoming a Trained Assessor school level who are below the 7 percent body fat minimum during the initial assessment must get an signature of authorized medical examiner indicating that the individuals current body fat is natural

  • Two hours of classroom training and one hour of practical training.

  • A fee may be charged to each assessor candidate to attend a training program.

  • Annual educational updates will be given to maintain training.


  • Responsibilities for the Trained Assessor school level who are below the 7 percent body fat minimum during the initial assessment must get an signature of authorized medical examiner indicating that the individuals current body fat is natural

  • Conduct the required testing.

  • Assessor will be responsible for compiling and entering the measurement results in the Optimal Performance Calculator on the NWCA Web site.


  • Initial Hydration Assessments for College and High School school level who are below the 7 percent body fat minimum during the initial assessment must get an signature of authorized medical examiner indicating that the individuals current body fat is natural

  • High School wrestlers can start as early as October 19th but has to be completed prior to the start of the first official wrestling practice, which is November 26th.

  • College wrestlers just need to have it completed prior to the start of the first official wrestling practice.


  • Protocol for Hydration Assessment for College and High School

  • Weigh wrestlers in on digital scale.

  • Use Lange Skinfold Calipers to take body fat measurements from the wrestler by PATS/NWCA trained assessor.

  • Three sites for skinfold measurements are taken at the chest, abdomen, and thigh.



  • Appropriate Hydration Levels for Wrestlers site for accuracy.

  • For collegiate wrestlers they cannot exceed 1.020 for the reading on the refractometer.

  • For high school wrestlers they cannot exceed 1.025 for the reading on the refractometer.



  • Primary Reasons for Wrestler Failing the Hydration Test site for accuracy.

  • Did not drink enough water prior to hydration assessment.

  • Consumed caffeine prior to assessment during the day.

  • If wrestler fails the hydration assessment they are required to wait 24 hours before trying again.


  • Appeal Process at the College & High School Level site for accuracy.

  • Each wrestler has the option of appealing the results of the certified weight recommendations by NWCA.

  • The appeal can be registered by the athlete, coach, or parent by a school official.


  • The appeal must be filed with the PIAA or NCAA organization by a school official prior to start of first wrestling contest.

  • The individual wrestler is instructed to go to a regional site identified by either the NCAA or PIAA to verify certification weight.

  • The individual wrestler is responsible for paying the site fee of 85 dollars out of pocket and is non-refundable pass/fail.


  • Preparation Needed by Wrestler for Appeal Process organization by a school official prior to start of first wrestling contest.

  • Athlete needs to be hydrated before any testing is done.

  • Specific Gravity testing is done and must be equal to or below 1.025 for appeal process to proceed.



  • The regional site fee for additional testing is not returned to the athlete regardless of pass/fail results.

  • The equipment used for appeal of weight certification is typically done by either hydrostatic weighing or a bod pod.

  • If student-athlete loses appeal process, they are not permitted to re-apply for the rest of the current season.


  • Nutritional Component of NWCA Weight Management Program returned to the athlete regardless of pass/fail results.

  • Program can assist the wrestler in meeting daily and weekly goals for weight maintenence through nutritional component.

  • Nutritional program is available to every wrestler that participates in PIAA or NCAA.




  • Accountability Issues with NWCA Program. during season to reach lower weight within certification range.

  • Weekly updates of each wrestlers current weight must be typed in following each wrestling match by the coach.

  • Each teams coach has access to weekly updates of current weights of opposing teams.

  • Ensures integrity of the program.


  • Signs of Success Related to Weight Certification Program during season to reach lower weight within certification range.

  • Studies were conducted by researchers from various universities from 1992 to 1999 in the NCAA.

  • A total of 4,338 wrestlers were studied.

  • In 1992 the average weight gain after weigh ins prior to competition was 8 pounds.



  • In 1999 there were 420 NCAA qualifiers, and the average weight lost from October to November was 6.74 pounds.

  • During the same time the average decrease in body fat was 2.38 percent, which would indicate that most weight lost during the season was fat weight as opposed to muscle mass.

  • The average percent body fat at the NCAA Championships was 8.47 percent with very few athletes at or below 5 percent.



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