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Michigan Reactivates Wrestling Team Ban Ends With Safety Measures In Place

Mon., Dec. 29, 1997, midnight

University of Michigan will resume its suspended wrestling season Tuesday with a ban on athletes using saunas for weight loss and other safety measures in place.

The measures are part of Michigan’s response to the Dec. 9 death of wrestler Jeff Reese. The junior from Wellsburg, N.Y., was wearing a rubber suit when he tried to shed weight for a match the following day. Reese suffered kidney failure and heart failure after a two-hour workout in a 92-degree room. He had been trying to lose 12 pounds in one day.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie said Friday there was no criminal wrongdoing in Reese’s death.

The Wolverines will compete Tuesday and Wednesday at the Oregon Classic.

A task force appointed in the wake of Reese’s death forwarded the safety recommendations to athletic director Tom Goss on Friday. Goss said the policies will be implemented immediately.

The seven-point plan recommended:

Use of impermeable suits of plastic, rubber or nylon be prohibited.

Use of saunas be banned on the day of weigh-in, and sauna use be limited to therapeutic purposes at other times.

A weight assessment and monitoring program be instituted.

On weigh-in day, all activity be supervised, and a trainer be present until weigh-ins are completed.

Weigh-ins occur head-to-head with opponents 1-3 hours prior to competition by mutual agreement of the teams competing. That would make it harder to dehydrate to make weight, then regain the weight in the 24 hours between weigh-in and competition.

The university develop a mandatory nutritional educational program for coaches, athletes and athletic trainers.

The university institute a self-report process for violations, including athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and staff.

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