CrossFit Games 2018 Wrap Up

The CrossFit Games ended recently.  As usual, the competition was intense, the workouts were intense.  What was fun this year, though, is I feel more of the workouts were ones that all CrossFit athletes can do.  Yes, we may be slower or have to scale the weight, but they were doable.

CrossFit is a sport.  Just like any sport, injuries happen.  Watch any sporting event on any given day, listen to sports talk radio, or read news articles and you will find injuries on a daily basis.  CrossFit seems to get a bad reputation for injuries. But when you look at stats, the overall injury rate is no worse than any other sport.

Total number of athletes participating in the CrossFit Games: 400

Athletes who withdrew or were shut down by medical: 19

Injury rate: 4.75%

To compare with other sports:

NFL: average 6% per game (2014-2017)

NCAA Football: 7.5% per season (2004-2009)

High school basketball: 22% per year

NBA: 44.6% per player (2015-2016)

Looking at the athletes, some of the injuries were (possibly) preventable, some weren’t...accidents happen!

Here’s a rundown of some of the injuries:

Ethan Elwell

Ethan is a 17 year old teens athlete who is making his second trip to the CrossFit games. Coming into the games he was ranked no. 16 world wide placing first and in the Asia and Guam online qualifier. According to the Guam Daily, Ethan suffered a rib-like injury during Day 2 of competition that caused him to lose his second overall ranking. Ethan states that he felt a “pop” in his back during workout No. 4 (Shoulder to overhead). He admits he continued the event, what was immense pain in that area for the remainder of the event. He continued the rest of the day with 8/10 pain in that area and admits to difficulty breathing. Ethan finished 5th overall after the weekend and states that he was glad that he finished out competition.

Emily Bridgers

Simply put, she had a freak accident. Similar to the Patrick Vellner (No. 2 Fittest Man in the World), her foot got caught in the o-course rope. Unfortunately, for Emily her ankle stayed in the rope and as she descended her ankle dislocated. By her accounts her ankle was facing the opposite direction and in mere competitive fervor she pops it back in place on site. She admits the pain initially was 10/10, but as the weekend progressed she felt better.

Justine Beath

According to reports, Justine seemed fine going into the Marathon Row event during Day 1, but after finishing 20th speculations as to her grip being affected begin to surface going into Day 2. She was unable to complete the O-course.  She was reported as withdrawing, but it was later revealed that Justine was disqualified from the 2018 CrossFit Games after failing to meet the minimum work requirement on the obstacle course during the Battleground event on Friday.

 As reported by Justine herself, she admits she had no injury and no mention of her grip during her instagram post. She did however mention that she “really struggled,” which leads me to believe this was more of a situation of mental fatigue or overtraining. To become a CrossFit games athletes you have to put in multiple hours a day in training, dedicated to your nutrition, and most importantly mentally willing to suffer through immense pain during a WOD. All of which, Justine was able to do prior to the games. So what changed?  It is possible she was mentally exhausted from competition. After the quick turn around from the final event of Day 1 into the first event of Day 2, many athletes were likely feeling the fatigue. This may have even caused some of the accidents during the O-course that Justine did not complete.

Alexandre Caron: knee injury

Prior to the CrossFit total, rain fell in Madison.  This caused the platforms to be damp. While performing a 1RM on the back squat, Alexandre’s left foot slipped out to the side, causing all weight to be placed on the right leg, and thus collapsing.  He was able to stand up and walk (limp) on his own and did continue to finish that event.

After the event, he saw the medical team who would not let him continue.  The extent of the injury was not fully known, but they knew it was not safe for him to continue competing in the state his knee was in.

Michele Fumagalli: dislocated and fractured wrist

As Michele was just about to finish the Crit, having only 60 yards left to be exact, she had an unfortunately crash on her bike.  The chain popped off during the crash, so she picked up her bike and carried it to the finish line.

She knew she was injured from the fall.  After seeing the medical team, the dislocation and fracture was found; the medical team deemed her unable to continue the competition.  

Sara Sigmundsdottir: rib injury

Sara started off 2018 with a rib injury, not able to train fully until March.  But, she was able to get back to training fully and entered the CrossFit Games 2018 in the best shape she has been in.

Then disaster struck...and the reason is still unknown.

She entered the Marathon Row with some pain, but it went away.  By events 9 and 10, she was barely able to complete the workouts and was living on pain medication.  After consultation with her coach and physician, it was decided she needed to medically withdraw from the competition.  The extent of the injury was still not fully known, but she knew she had pain and bruising on her ribs.

Once she returned home and was able to see further medical care, it was found that she has rib fractures, which is not the issue or injury she had before with her ribs..  The question still comes down to “why,” as that is still the unknown factor. Based on the location of the bruising, my only guess is that she hit it with the rings several times during the 30 Muscle Ups workout.

Wrap Up

Like I stated in the beginning...injuries happen, accidents happen.  But in the grand scheme of things, as a sport, CrossFit is no more injury prone than any other sport.


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