Friday, June 20, 2014

What is Risk and Why Do You Care

What's more risky, swimming pools at the house or guns in the house?  What's more risky, driving to the gym or the most dangerous workout program known to man?  What kills more kids than guns?  What kills more folks annually than were killed in ten years of US involvement in Viet Nam?

My fellow CF professional Russell Burger takes a stab at quantifying the "risk" question in this blog post.

Click Bait. Photo Credit: Scott Wallace

"With a long enough time frame, the fatality rate for all activities is 100%. An injury rate without a time frame is meaningless.A 74% injury rate over one workout is very different from a 74% rate over years of training.
"Outside Magazine is a first-class source for bad reporting on fitness. They made this mistake recently:
"Studies have pegged the CrossFit injury rate from as low as 16 percent to as high as 74 percent." (The 16 percent figure has never been substantiated, but the Outside reporter failed to seriously investigate that fact.)
"Furthermore, the 16 percent figure comes from a 6-week study, whereas the 74 percent figure comes from a study where the average CrossFit experience was 18.6 months. In other words, the 74 percent figure came from a study with a time frame over 13 times as long as the other study. It's not a fair comparison.
"One way to address time is find the number of injuries per 1000 hours of participation. This is the incidence rate."

An interesting fact Russell cites:  "At least 52 Americans have died competing in triathlons since 2007."  Americans killed because they were doing CrossFit since 2007 - none that I know of.  But that's a meaningless comparison because we don't know how many folks are doing these things, or the causes of death.  If half the triathlon deaths were cause by auto accident, that would change the meaning of the stat, as it would if half of the triathlon/auto death accidents were caused by dehydrated athletes jumping in front of cars due to confusion.

Russell points out that "The "general fitness training" source the researchers cite found a rate of 5.92 injuries per 1000 hours of training. That's nearly twice what the researchers found for CrossFit."

In the end, you get to pick - is CrossFit too dangerous for you?  How about parachuting?  Swimming in the ocean?  Mountain climbing?  Cliff diving?  After 7 years I'm very clear about the risk/reward curve for myself.  Most folks who do CrossFit know the risks, just like they know the risks for driving to the gym, and choose to take them.

No comments:

Post a Comment