Sunday, February 16, 2014

How To Avoid Injury - Get Bed Sores!

Misrepresenting Crossfit injuries is simple click theft!
Obese reporters, lazy bloggers out to "steal clicks", and those seeking to curry favour with critics  throw their hands up in horror at the thought that any sporting activity could result in any type of injury.
"Surely", they ooze, "If we could rid ourselves of rugby, MMA, boxing, indeed all martial arts (except that nice Tai Chi, that's ok) and Crossfit, no one would be injured again."
I reflected on this and thought about my Crossfit injuries, then I thought about my pre-Crossfit injuries as a "fit" person, then I thought about my injuries as a normal member of the public.
I'm proving nothing, other than saying injury, biffs, cuts and stuff are probably part of life unless you are very unfit and sedentary. In which case, it's just the bed sores.
An overview of my injuries
As a sedentary 100 day a smoker who avoided physical activity till I was 37.
I got run over by a car.
I fell of a ladder while painting,
I burnt my chest in a garden fire.
I had back pain from slouching.

I had back pain from moving stuff badly.

The author's list continues, and his point is valid - if you want to avoid injury at all costs, you should probably kill yourself.  The injuries that had the most impact on my grandparents' lives included torn ACLs from football, a wrecked leg from an auto accident, a back injury from falling off of a ladder (and preceded by a broken pelvis from an auto injury that likely also started the back issues), a fall on ice rending a broken arm bone and lifelong pain/weakness afterwards, and chronic shoulder arthritis.  My parents had hip pain (bursitis?), knee pain from a torn meniscus, a shoulder injury that required surgical repair from a fall off of a bicycle, and falls leading to facial scars and head trauma.  

But what had the most impact on their lives was their decrepitude from lack of activity as they aged.  Each of the various injuries became worse as muscle and bone wasted away and my grandparents maintained the grim, year over year decline into the pit of frailty.   My parents have thus far avoided this by maintaining their strength through moderate resistance work and/or some other form of traditional training.

My own injuries were similar - ACL and meniscus damage from military training and skiing, shoulder and neck injuries from football and snowboarding, arthritic damage in my neck and back from my years as a desk jockey, and such.  I never fell off of my bike, and was never struck by a car, but I think bicycling was the highest risk activity I ever undertook in the name of health and fitness.  The negative outcomes are fairly low in probability but the cost of failure when you mix in automobiles at highway speeds is maximal.

Which really is the point of the matter with regard to CrossFit.  We've been in an industry and a generation in which the power of the "expert" to determine what you or I could or should or shouldn't do was fairly high.  Whatever followed buzz phrases such as "Doctors say", or "scientists recommend", or "experts advise" was considered authoritative by me and the people I know.  We lived in a gestalt in which is was assumed wise to follow the risk-reward determinations of others.  

In these discussions of "what is dangerous" you will note that there is little to no perspective.   That's why we can have a national frenzy over football and being a Navy SEAL, but spend energy wanking about how dangerous CrossFit is.  Or, we can have wailing and gnashing of teeth about how dangerous it is to have individual ownership of firearms, but virtually never hear about swimming pool deaths - even though a pool at a home is 900 times more likely to result in a child's death than is a gun in the home (and when 99%+ of all firearms owners will never hurt a human with a gun).  

A former co-worker, and a sergeant on the police force that employed us, used to say "you pays your money and you takes your chances."  This was uttered in reference to falling in love, getting shot while on duty, or in discussions of risk of alcoholism (we covered a lot of ground).  Which of you would take anyone else's advice regarding these risks?  As we pick and choose our chances through life, we choose for ourselves, based on our own tolerance for risk and our own appetite for the perceived rewards an activity may bring.  We will do the same with CrossFit and thank whatever is holy that we have the liberty to make such a choice.  The next person hear saying  "CrossFit is dangerous", I'll just think to myself "well then you shouldn't be doing it."  And please stay away while I'm doing CrossFit.

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