CrossFit Injury Rates Are Lower Than Many Sports

We’ve all heard that decade-old opinion that CrossFit causes injuries. However, the data doesn’t exist to back up the statement. Overall, CrossFit injuries occur less often than many competitive sports. This is according to a number of aggregate studies we looked at:

Non-CrossFit Injuries

We’ll start by looking at injury rates in other common sports.

A Canadian study of participation in youth hockey found 30.02-percent of athletes suffered an injury. The same study cited 4.13 injuries per 1000 hours played.

Another Canadian study looked at general injury rates for many sports. For males, it studied hockey and football. For females, it looked at dance and volleyball. The study also included basketball, snowboarding, and soccer as unisex sports.

Researchers concluded at 40.2 percent injury rate for those combined sports. They also noted the highest injury rates happened in basketball, hockey, soccer, and snowboarding.

Basketball appears to be problematic. 44.7-percent of intercollegiate basketball players sustained injuries over a two-year study.

Stanford Children’s Health bolsters this idea. Their site states more than 170,000 basketball-related injuries happened in 2009. They also note bikes and football to be more dangerous. Biking resulted in 200,000 injuries, while football resulted in 215,000. These numbers are for children ages 5 to 14, who’s injuries brought them to hospital emergency rooms.

Another study looked at football games and wrestling tournaments. It found a 35.9-percent injury rate in football and 26.4-percent in wrestling.

CrossFit Injury Rate

A 2012-2013 survey found CrossFit injury rates to be 19.4 percent for all participants. Much lower than the 20-50 percent rates found in other sports. This conclusion was reiterated by a second review in 2017.

There have been many studies on CrossFit injury statistics. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning in 2013 found CrossFit injury rates to be 3.1 per 1000 hours. Another study found rates to be as low as 2.3 injuries per 1000 hours of participation.

In fact, another study in 2018 states the injury risk from CrossFit training is comparable to Olympic weightlifting. A look at injury rates for competitive elite weightlifters found rates to be as low as 3.3 injuries/1000 hours,

CrossFit is Safe Compared to 25 NCAA Sports

A study from 2009 to 2015 looked at injury rates in 25 NCAA sports. It found many injury rates higher than CrossFit, when looking at exposure.

  • Men’s Wrestling – 13.1/1000
  • Women’s Gymnastics – 10.4/1000
  • Men’s Football – 9.2/1000
  • Men’s Soccer – 8/1000
  • Women’s Soccer – 8.4/1000
  • Men’s Basketball – 8.5/1000
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – 9.5/1000

Here’s the most important statistic: these 25 NCAA sports had an average exposure injury rate of 6 per 1000 exposures. Almost double the CrossFit injury rate. Sports like wrestling and gymnastics had triple the injury rates.

The same study looked at injury severity, noting the rate of injuries taking more than 7 days to return to the sport. Almost half of all wrestling injuries took an athlete away from the sport for more than seven days. Men’s indoor track injuries followed, at almost 40-percent.

Conclusion

Despite anecdotes about CrossFit and injury, CrossFit injury statistics show the sport to be safer than most collegiate sports. There are a number of CrossFit injury studies finding injuries from CrossFit training and CrossFit injury risk is lower than activities like basketball, hockey, football, wrestling, and gymnastics.

bengarves

Editor-in-Chief and founder of WeRCrossFit.com. Web developer for the stars of CrossFit, and all-around fitness enthusiast and fan.

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