For years, the wider fitness industry has warned people of the dangers of Crossfit, and now an injury nobody would wish on anyone has occurred.
Kevin Ogar, a Crossfit trainer in Englewood, Colorado, was performing a 3 Rep Max Snatch when he lost control of the bar overhead.
He was unable to get out of way in time, resulting in the bar damaging his T11 and T12 vertebrae, and severing his spinal cord.
Kevin currently has no feeling below his waist.
Weightlifting is dangerous. Whether it is Power lifting, Bodybuilding or Olympic lifting is irrelevant. There have been life-changing injuries in all of these sports, as well as deaths.
Crossfit is no different. One trainer even publicly came out, stating that clients should expect to get injured… it’s Crossfit.
How does Crossfit differ from all other types of lifting?
Kevin was competing in a competition that consisted of nine workouts over the course of a weekend.
According to the OC Throwdown webpage, the nine WOD’s the athletes were to compete in over the course of the day included:
WOD 1: The NFL combine
WOD 2: Squat Cleans and Handstand Push ups with Handstand Walks
WOD 3: 3 Mile Run
WOD 4: Touch and Go Snatch, 3 Position Clean and Jerk, Back squat
WOD 5: Overhead Squat, Muscle Ups, Wall Balls, Double Unders, Deadlift, Power Snatch
WOD 4 is where Kevin’s traumatic and awful injury occurred.
When a Olympic Lifter competes, they perform six lifts, three snatches and three clean and jerks, resting plenty between each set and, whilst it would be foolish for me to say they never have accidents, these athletes are rested enough to notice when they are going to miss a lift, allowing them to get out of the way of the falling barbell.
The Strength Bracket WOD, where Kevin injured himself, is an example of poor, dangerous and stupid programming.
The Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Back squat are all hip dominant movements that require a significant amount of gluteal activity, hip extension/flexion, and thoracic spine mobility and tax the posterior chain.
Combining these three movements with a heavy load, the Snatch was being performed at a 3 Rep Max, will not build, or test, strength as the name of the WOD would imply, instead testing muscular endurance and sheer will power and mental fortitude.
To test strength, one would have to allow the muscle to completely repair itself between lifts, ala Olympic or Power lifting.
The Internet, in particular the Crossfit community, are calling this a ‘freak accident’ and yet, when he look at the idiotic programming of the OC Throwdown, we can see that it was more an accident waiting to happen.
What can we learn from the accident? And where do we go, as a fitness community, from here?
As I nonchalantly scrolled through Facebook, a number of posts regarding the injury to Kevin Oger caught my attention and, whilst there does seem to be some Crossfit members who are using this as a reason to finally question the programming and intensity of Crossfit, most are closing their eyes to the dangers they have just witnessed, instead talking about how people should focus more on the dangers of sitting on your arse, or focusing on how the community has banded together to raise funds for Kevin, who was uninsured at the time of the accident.
Whilst I don’t want to discredit the community for the amazing fundraising efforts they have undertaken, I do hope that, if nothing else, this opens up an avenue for further discussion and criticism of Crossfit, it’s model and its intensity expectations.
Because, if it doesn’t, millions more people will continue to be duped into believing that this inane workout regime is a shortcut, and the holy grail, to six pack abs, a tight butt and a ripped physique without realising the real danger they are putting themselves in.
And no, saying that “injuries happen in every sport” is not an excuse for injuries happening in yours!
For more of my writing about nutrition, exercise and life in general, please head over to http://www.JPTrainingsystems.com.