CrossFit Injuries – Higher rate compared to other sports? – Christian Kubas, Physiotherapist #TeamGPP

Misconception

CrossFit has built up a reputation for causing a high rate of injury among participants. This style of training (and sport) is relatively new in comparison and demands a high level of output from its athletes, but does it truly lead to a higher incidence of injury?

Data

There is not a lot of published research regarding CrossFit injuries yet, but the most recent data appears to dispel the misconception of higher rates of injury. Two recent studies found relatively similar numbers regarding incidence of injury within CrossFit participation among novice athletes. Below are the rates of injury per athlete, displayed as injuries per 1000 hours of exposure for different activities. CrossFit’s rates were calculated to be 2.4 and 3.1 per 1000 hours of exposure for novice athletes in two separate studies.

CrossFit.RateOfInjury.Kubas.GastownPhysioPilatesVariability within the numbers can exist depending on level of training, gender, follow-up period, size and how injury was defined. Despite these factors, CrossFit appears to be on the lower end of the spectrum in comparison to a variety of sports. This early research dismisses the notion that CrossFit is a higher risk than other training modalities wtih properly supervision and appropriate progressions.

References

Buist I, Bredeweg SW, Bessem B, van Mechelen W, Lemmink KA, Diercks RL. Incidence and risk factors of running-related injuries during preparation for a 4-mile recreational running event. Br J Sports Med. 2010 Jun;44(8):598-604

Calhoon G, Fry A. Injury rates and profiles in elite competitive weightlifters. Journal of Athletic Training, 1999;34(3):232-238.

Hak PT, Hodzovic E, Hickey B. The nature and prevalence of injury during crossfit training. J Strength Cond Res., 2013:Published Ahead of Print.

Kerr HA, Curtis C, Micheli LJ, Kocher MS, Zurakowski D, Kemp SPT, Brooks JHM. Collegiate rugby union injury patterns in New England: a prospective cohort study. Br J Sports Med 2008;42:595–603

Kolt GS, Kirkby, RJ. Epidemiology of injury in elite and sub-elite female gymnasts: comparison of retrospective and prospective findings. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 1999;33:312-318 Parkkari J, Kannus P, Natri A, et al. Active living and injury risk. Int J Sports Med. 2004;25:209-216.

Raske A, Norlin R. Injury incidence and prevalence among elite weight and powerlifters. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2002;30(2):248-256.

Weisenthal BM, Beck C., Maloney MD, DeHaven KE, Giordano BD. Injury rate and patterns among crossfit athletes. The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014;2(4).

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1 Comment

  1. Rob says:

    Interesting but a few corrections: The study by Hak et al., compares CrossFit injuries to those of the general population doing fitness training recorded in 1993 (over 2 decades old and a lot has changed). In addition, they use 1000 hours which does not take into account the number of people doing the activity (and you could guess there are more doing crossfit than playing rugby at sub-elite and elite level) – so in fact its not 3.1 injuries per 1000 hours but rather 139 injuries per 1000 person-hours. The study by
    Weisenthal et al, is poorly referenced sighting a handball paper with Olympic athletes as Olympic lifting injuries.

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