Kevin Ogar

1/17/14

WOD:

EMOM 15 Minutes

1 Deadlift (155/105)

1 Hang Power Clean

1 Front Squat

1 Push Press

Some of you guys have heard about the crossfitter that was injured last weekend as a competition in Southern California.  His name is Kevin Ogar. Christina and I both know him from competing locally and from travelling to California to coach Becca at the World Games.  First, let me tell you this, the guy is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet.   Second, the guy is an absolute animal.  He’s one of Colorado’s finest crossfitters and no doubt, he’s going to surprise people on his way to recovery.

Kevin separated his spine at T11/T12 and severed his spinal cord during a failed snatch attempt.  He has no voluntary movement in legs and has undergone two surgeries since the accident. 

There are many rumors out there as to how this happened.  I watched the video and have a read number of accounts.  Here’s what appears to have happened:  One of the events in the OC Throw Down involved a three rep touch and go snatch for max load.  During one attempt, Kevin lost his balance and fell onto his butt.  He allowed the bar to fall behind him, like I’m sure he’s done 100’s of times, and as each one of us has done many times.  Only, this time, there were a number of weights staged behind the mat he was lifting on.  He was lifting near the rear of his mat and when the bar fell behind him, it hit the stacked bumpers and launched back into his back, separating the vertebrae and severing his spinal cord.

Gather yourself.  If you’re like me, your heart is in your stomach right now and that’s understandable.  

Kevin doesn’t have insurance and as you can imagine, he’s in for a load of astronomical medical bills.  The CrossFit Community has come together and raised more than $200,000, but I fear this is only a drop in the bucket compared to what he’s going to be responsible for when all is said and done.  If you’re interested in helping, please go to https://www.facebook.com/BarbellsforBoobs to find out how.   Our thoughts, prayers and concern will be with Kevin, an extended member of our CrossFit family, as he battles his way back to a miraculous recovery.

Could this happen in our gym?  Yes.  Could this happen at Snap, at 24, the Rec Center or in your house?  Yes.   This was an accident.  Some might say a freak accident.  Everything was in the right place, at the right time for a devastating result. The question is, what can we learn from this incident?  That CrossFit is dangerous?  Maybe, but lets answer that question by first asking another.  What is CrossFit?  CrossFit in the simplest of answers can be defined by it’s name.  Cross-Fit.  It’s a cross of anything and everything you can do to better yourself both mentally and physically.   We run, we lift, we row, we swim, we bike, tumble, throw things, flip things and carry things.  What we do is varied, but carefully planned.  Go to any affiliate's website and in some part of the blog, it will say, “Go out and play something!”  Basketball, football, golf, tennis….  Or, “Go out and do something!”  Wrestle, ice climb, mountain climb, ski, ice skate,  run an adventure race, a tri, a 5k or a marathon.  Play with your kids.  On every affiliate's website and in every box will be found some emphasis on nutrition;  how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, how and how much to hydrate, supplement and rest.  So, is CrossFit dangerous?  Maybe, but check out the following stats:

  • 41.5 people die every year skiing or snowboarding (.5, I know, I know) .  44.7 are seriously injured (paralysis, head injury, other serious injury)  (1)
  • Up to 56% of “recreational runners” report some kind of injury.  Up to 90% of those injuries result in a reduction in or cessation of training (2)
  • Marathons kill six people per year (3)
  • Over a 13 year period, soccer injured 122, 886 people per year (4)
  • Cycling injures or kills 19,000 people per year (5)
  • In 2002, Cheerleading injured 22,900 people.  From 1982-2007, it killed 103 people or 6/year (6)

The list of physical fitness and/or sports injuries and fatalities goes on and on.  Well, what about work?  We have some firefighters and Oil Field workers in our gym:

  • Not including 9/11, fire fighting kills and average of 100 firefighters per year and injures 81,070 per year (7) (8)
  • In 2008, 120 Oil Rig workers were killed and from 2003-2007, there were 3766 injuries per year (9)

Not a firefighter or oil rig worker? 

  • Car accidents kill 89 people per day.  In 2010, there were 2, 239,000 injuries from car accidents (10)

Interesting facts:

  • In the 90’s, sharks killed 51 people per year (11)
  • Lightning kills 24, 000 people per year and injures another 24, 000 (12)

So really, the only way to be entirely safe is to sit home on my couch?  Not really.

  • Diabetes affects 23.6 million people in the US.  90-95% are Type 2, which is preventable.  An estimated 5.7 million don’t even know they have diabetes. (13)
  • Cardiovascular disease affects 84 million people and kills someone every 40 seconds (14)

Back to the question at hand.  Is CrossFit safe?  A Google search yields no injury or fatality statistics.  Does that mean no one has ever been hurt or killed in a CrossFit Gym.  No, I can personally attest to the fact that folks have been injured.  I myself tore my pec (I attribute that to overtraining, under feeding, under resting, under hydrating, so dumb), and have seen and heard about other folks being injured.  (I will tell you that with the Good Lords help, proper nutrition, a good PT and with about 7 years of crossfitting as a foundation, I was able to return to full duty at work 50% faster (3 months) than doctors had originally projected.)  Kevin’s injury is by far the most serious injury I’ve ever heard of.  I’ve never heard of anyone being killed in a CrossFit gym and I assure you, it would be all over the media if that actually happened.

So, is it safe or not?  The above facts speak for themselves.  You decide what's safe and what isn't.

Is CrossFit effective?  Is it worth it?   This isn’t the platform to talk about the efficacy of CrossFit, but you will be seeing something on that in the future.  In the mean time, ask one of the folks that’s lost 20, 30, 40, 50 pounds or more, improved their blood work, their confidence and their overall quality of life if it works.

Should we be aware of our surroundings?  Absolutely.  If you’re going to bail and you need to drop the bar, have a plan.  Set up so that in the event you need to, you have a place to go that’s safe for you and everyone around you. 

Should we be aware of our limitations?  Yes.  Like Conrad says, if it’s been a long week, you’re sore, you’re nursing something, SCALE.  If that means using a PVC, a different movement or opting all together, by all means, BE SMART.

This article is by no means an attempt to minimize the seriousness of  Kevin’s injury, but after reading some of the stuff that’s out there right now, I felt compelled to write this.  Again, if you’d like to help a Crossfit Brother out, go to https://www.facebook.com/BarbellsforBoobs  Thanks so much for taking the time to read this today.

Kevin

 

1. http://www.nsaa.org/media/68045/NSAA-Facts-About-Skiing-Snowboarding-Safety-10-1-12.pdf

 

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1439399

 

3. http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/10/3-runners-die-in-detroit-safety-of/

 

4.  http://www.soccer-training-guide.com/soccer-injury-statistics.html#.UtgLqf1dRg0

 

5.  . http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/cycling/facts-figures.aspx

 

6. http://www.livescience.com/2775-girls-dangerous-sport-cheerleading.html

 

7. http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/ff_fat12.pdf

 

8. http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/firefighter_casualties.shtm

 

9. http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/osar0013.htm

 

10.https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/transportation/motor_vehicle_accidents_and_fatalities.html

11. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/statistics/2003attacksummary.htm

 

12. http://www.livescience.com/38313-how-to-survive-a-lightning-strike.html

 

13.http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/diabetes_endocrine/about_diabetes/statistics_about_diabetes/Pages/index.aspx

 

14.http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/cardiovascular_disease_statistics_85,P00243/