Injury Patterns and Treatment in Functional Fitness Competitions: A Case Report




Schulte, Adam P.


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Introduction: High-intensity functional fitness regimes, popularized by programs such as CrossFit, have produced a large population of regularly active participants in a short span of time1. The evolution of such exercise programs into formal competitions has allowed athletes to pursue further athletic achievement, and, in some cases, earn monetary and other prizes for placing highly. The CrossFit® Games and CrossFit® Regionals events are annual sanctioned competitions organized by CrossFit, Inc. which hosts the top athletes from around the world. As the pool of competing athletes continues to grow, a greater number of local-level events hosted by individual gyms, known as affiliates, have begun to emerge. While incident reporting by medical staff is implemented at CrossFit-sanctioned events, local level event hosts inconsistently take all necessary steps to ensure sufficient medical care is available for the participating athletes, which places athletes at greater risk of harm2. This as well as proper antisepsis measures are of the utmost importance, as blood-borne exposure secondary to superficial hand abrasions, commonly referred to “hand rips”, in competition is very common. Methods: Injury report data was collected during at the 2014 Dallas All Cities Open, a one-day local event hosted by CrossFit Dallas Central at the Texas State Fairgrounds Fair Park Coliseum. Athlete information was recorded upon their presentation to the medical station, including name, gender, age, affiliate, and a brief description of their injury. Results: A total of 248 athletes representing 50 gyms and CrossFit affiliates participated, 8 of whom were unaffiliated (M=3, W=5), and placed into four divisions: Mens (M) Womens (W) Masters Men (MM) and Masters Women (MW), a Masters designation given to those age 40 or older. There were 134 M, 90 W, 13 MM, and 11 MW. A total of 43 athletes presented for injury treatment (17 M, 24 W, 2MW), and all injuries recorded were hand-related. Injury types were unilateral hand rips (HR, n=16), bilateral hand rips (HRB, n=19), simple blister (B, n=1), blood blister (BB, n=5), and combined type blister + hand rip (B+HR, n=2). Treatment predominantly consisted of triple antibiotic ointment, nonadherent dressing, and kinesiotape. Conclusion: This is the first known documented account to detail injury types, treatment, and medical coverage of local-level functional fitness competitions. With the number of these events steadily increasing, the need for medical coverage, standardized treatment and antisepsis protocols, and education of event coordinators and athletes is of central importance to ensuring participant safety and injury prevention.
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