So the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games are behind us and I for one left Carson with a sense of where does CrossFit go from here. Things have changed from the dirt hills of Aromas to the luxury of the StubHub Center with CrossPollination going on all over the Games. Racing cars on exhibit in Vendor Village, Freestyle Motocross in the middle of the soccer stadium jumping and wheelying all around the field, and arm wrestling in the tennis stadium are examples of this. It looks like CrossFit is here to stay and the question is how big is it going to get? Are we going to see in the next 3 years ratings that are similar to X-Games? NASCAR?, NFL? The answer is……unknown and unknowable but I would be prepared.
I thought I would talk about Sports Medicine and the tenets behind it in this post. As a Sports Medicine physician my goal is to allow athletes to compete at the highest level they are capable of while maintaining their health and safety. I treat athletes from all walks of life, from little children to professionals. When athletes come to me with an injury, they pretty much have one question in their head. When can I return to sports? On the field the big question is can they go back in the game. In the office it is can they practice tomorrow or can they play in the next game?
When in the office, I have had some young athletes hear my response and as I go into further discussion, the head goes down and the texting begins rapid fire, AMRAP keys. I start to explain further and the bings and bongs start to come back to them while I am trying to make what little eye contact there is, stretching over the top of the iPhone looking for the glimpse of a pupil. A football player comes to me with a cartilage tear, a runner with a stress fracture, a CrossFitter with a SLAP tear. In a situation like this, the question is “can they return to sport without hurting themselves, or making the injury worse so that it would be a longer recovery or bigger surgery that may compromise the results and the long term health of the patient.” Obviously this is a very tricky question with some gray areas. The other question I ask someone is,” What are your goals?” Because there are certain situations like a bad tendonitis where someone can push through something and then recover and heal after for weeks or months. This is the crux of Sports Medicine. When does someone get to go back-safely vs. sometimes on the edge of health? Any Sports Med doc who has taken care of pros will tell you, these are the toughest decisions for the MD and the patient. Athletes will push us, which is THEIR job, and we have to know when to hold them back for their own safety, which is OUR job.
Hamstring tears, concussions, ligament tears, finger fractures all can occur in any sport, but they also have different levels of severity. This is where the experience of a physician comes in and knowing which injuries are the Bad players that need more restraint and which ones can heal a lot quicker. Just as all patients are not the same, all fractures are not the same. Each one has its own personality. Is it displaced or nondisplaced, simple or in pieces, through the skin or under the skin. One can see each type will be treated differently-splint, brace, cast, surgery, nail, plate and screws. We have an armamentarium of options and need to know which arrow to use in our quiver.
Also I just wanted to say that all the athletes in Carson were so appreciative, which actually makes it easy to treat them and well worth the trip to Carson. Athletes of CrossFit even at its highest levels blend humility, grace, and competitiveness. That is what makes it so appealing to compete in and to watch. See you next year. SR