The Dumbest Crossfit Injuries and How to Avoid Them

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In September, Crossfit faced a loss and a win in the legal world. A Missouri court ruled against Crossfit Inc. and one of its affiliates in a personal injury case.  At the other end of the spectrum, a California court sided with Crossfit in their claims against the NCSA.

The Missouri case was brought up by  plaintiff, Jonas Barrish, who claimed negligence against his affiliate and Crossfit Inc. According to the plaintiff, their negligence led him to incur serious back injuries while attempting a 1RM on his deadlift. While a ruling like this may seem detrimental to the Crossfit image, a closer look at the trial shows the jury found the plaintiff 50% liable for his own injuries. Also, Barrish was only awarded $400,000 of the $2,000,000 he requested. So, although, the case found some fault with Crossfit, it found just as much in the actions of the plaintiff.

The California ruling comes after many disputes between Crossfit and the NCSA. In 2013, NCSA published a studied performed by Ohio State researchers, known as the Devor Study. The study followed 53 participants in a 10 week program, measuring their aerobic fitness and body composition. While the study found improvements in both of these areas, it also made claims that 16% of participants were unable to complete the study due to personal injury.  Disagreeing with these comments and the defamation they may cause,, Crossfit began their lawsuits against the company. As it turns out, these numbers were falsified. The 16%, which only represents 9 subjects, all dropped out for personal reasons, such as time commitments, and not injuries. Additionally, the court ruled the NCSA knowingly published this data to protect their own market share against Crossfit.

Provided with these facts, I would conclude that Crossfit is not absolutely detrimental to personal safety. It simply involves a level of self awareness and discipline to avoid injury. Despite the facts, people still  bash Crossfit as the most dangerous activity around. I can’t tell a single sole about enjoying this pastime without getting a warning about protecting my back and knees. Crossfit is serious business, and it can lead to some injuries, but, you know what? So can many other physical activities. Is football safe? No. Do people vehemently disapprove of playing football? No. They strap up their five year olds and toss them to the wolves.

If you do Crossfit, you are going to feel the pain. You’ll have a bruised collarbone from cleans and a sore back after deadlifts, but these injuries come with the territory, and they are going to be pretty benign. While these little aches and scrapes may be unavoidable, there are some really dumb injuries that people incur during Crossfit that really shouldn’t happen. They arise when ego overcomes form and even common sense. Here is my list of these doltish damages:

  1. A Broken toe. Dropping a plate on your foot is a sure-fire route to a broken toe. Do not throw plates around. Do not let them roll and bounce. Do not do as I did the other and toss a 25 lb plate on a bench for bench press, let it bounce off, and smack you in the ankle, leaving a nice purple knot.
  2. An Infected Hand. With all the pulls of Crossfit, your hands are going to get a little rugged and occasionally tear; it’s kind of a Crossfit birthright. While others may admire your tears as badges of honor, no one will admire them if they are red and oozing puss. Take the proper steps to clean your wound: rinse with antiseptic, use a bandaid, and apply tape or Wodies when doing the movement again.
  3. A Knot on the head. Do not drop the bar on your head. It’s dangerous, it will hurt, and everyone will laugh at you, making the pain that much deeper. To avoid this injury, practice safe bar work. If you cannot clean 200 lbs, you may not want to try to jerk that much above your head. Additionally, if your pal is attempting to get weight overhead, stand clear and don’t distract or mess with them.
  4. And the DUMBEST OF THEM ALL (yet also most incurred)- an injury from blatantly disregarding what your coach says. In my opinion, this dumb act is where all the injuries that Crossfit is notorious of stem from. There is a reason that Crossift is taught in a class setting, led by certified coaches. The sport is intense and technical, even if you think you are doing everything right, there may be something off with your form, causing you to strain the wrong areas. If your coach corrects you, listen! Don’t allow your ego to overcome your physical abilities.

I’m lucky enough to have never been injured in my two years of Crossfit. I attribute my success in avoiding injuries to listening to my coaches, being mindful of my physical limitations, and lots and lots of yoga. Crossfit is about pushing ourselves to the limit, and sometimes even past that limit, but two limits exist. First, the mental limit tells us we cannot do something. This limit is created by fear- fear of failure and fear of disappointment. When we overcome our mental limit, greatness is achieved. Then, there is the physical limit. The physical limit tells us, we really should not move forward. It is this limit that we can tip toe to, but must respect, in order to keep our bodies whole and healthy.

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