Perrysburg (Ohio) High School administrators plan to use a recent incident of a wrestler taking drastic measures to cut weight as an opportunity to teach student-athletes about their safety.
As reported by The Toledo Blade, a video surfaced Thursday night showing a Perrysburg wrestler appearing to be in distress on the floor of a locker room shower while wearing a long-sleeve shirt and sauna pants, a garment made from a waterproof fabric and designed to make users sweat profusely in an attempt to lose weight. The use of such equipment is banned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, among other rules designed to prevent potentially dangerous steps wrestlers may take to qualify for their desired weight class.
“The OHSAA does not permit any practice that endangers the health and safety of the participants,” the rules state. “Crash dieting, the use of diuretic, emetics, and other drugs for weight reduction, the use of a sweat box, any type rubber, vinyl, or plastic sweat suit or bag, hot showers, whirlpools, or similar artificial heat devices for weight reduction is prohibited.
Superintendent Thomas Hosler, who addressed the incident after an investigation conducted Friday by Yellow Jackets athletic director Chuck Jaco, said Perrysburg administrators found the student-athlete in question believed he had let his team down by not reaching the maximum weight allowed for him to compete in his weight class in a Northern Lakes League dual meet against Northview on Thursday.
The investigation conducted by Jaco included interviews with the wrestler, his mother, Yellow Jackets’ head wrestling coach Scott Burnett, and teammates, who were all present at the Thursday meet, The Blade reported. It concluded that the wrestler had weighed in at around 5 p.m. and was eight-tenths of a pound over his weight class limit, and that he had time remaining before the meet’s official weigh-in to attempt to lose the weight necessary to compete.
Burnett advised the wrestler that he still had time to lose the weight prior to the official weigh-in, at which point the wrestler peddled a stationary bike, jumped rope and ran laps around a gym. His efforts failed, but the quest to lose the weight continued as the dual meet between Perrysburg and Northview proceeded without him.
According to Jaco’s interviews cited by The Blade, the wrestler was disappointed in his failure, and believed he owed it to the team to finish losing the weight while the other wrestlers competed. He put on the sauna pants and sat in the steamy shower, apparently unbeknownst to his coaches or his mother.
Hosler said that Perrysburg will self-report to the Ohio High School Athletic Association regarding a potential violation for the use of sauna pants and the hot shower. Based on the interviews conducted, Hosler said he is confident no member of the wrestling team’s coaching staff is at fault. He added that a mandatory meeting will be held with all athletes and coaches to review the OHSAA rules regarding weight loss.
In addition, the matter is being forward to Wood County Protective Services for review.