Adding to this site’s archived combat sports safety studies, an article was recently published by the American College of Sports Medicine discussing the hydration levels of Olympic Boxers and Judokas, both of whom compete in weight restricted sports (sports with weight classes where competitors often make weight with dehydration playing a role). The study revealed that 100% of the tested athletes were considered dehydrated.
The study’s abstract reads as follows:
Weight based sports categories induces detrimental behaviors on health and perfomance. Dehydration and nutritional deficiencies may lead to acute and chronic risks, deteriorating fitness level and health integrity.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate hydration and electrolyte status of elite athletes of Judo and Boxing from the Olympic National Team.
METHODS: Blood samples were taken from 27 Boxing and Judo elite athletes (18 males and 9 females; 26.4±3.7years) pre and post maximal specific protocol (3×3 minutes round/1minute interval for Boxing and 5 minutes of Handori for Judo) for hydration and eletrolyte status: Osmolality (Osmol), Haematocrit (Ht), Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+) and Calcium (Ca++) levels.
RESULTS: Before tests were performed, 100% of the athletes would be considered dehydrated: Osmol 304±62mOsmol.kg-1 (Normal range: 285-295mOsmol.kg-1) and Ht 45.9±6.1%. Sodium, Potassium and Calcium values were 143,3±12.7mmol.L-1; 6,4±1.6mmol.L-1; 9,9±2.3mg.dL-1. After specific sport protocol, Osmol, Ht, Na+, K+ and Ca++levels were 302.4±73mOsmol.kg-1, 44,7±3.2%, 142,4±14.6mmol.L-1, 6,1±1.1mmol.L-1 and 10,1±3.3mg.dL-1.
CONCLUSIONS: Weight based category sports athletes should focused on acquiring ideal body weight on a long-term period to avoid dehydration and others short-period strategies that may lead to detrimental aspects of physical fitness and health risks. Re-Hydration must be guided by electrolyte status to avoid major risks issues such as cardiac arrhythmias, hyponatremia and aedema. These strategies should be encourage by coaches leagues and federations worldwide.