CrossFit’s Case Against the NSCA: The Facts

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CrossFit Games Masters competitor Shellie Eddington participated in the study conducted at CrossFit 614. She never heard anyone talking about injuries.

In 2013, the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s journal published a study on a 10-week challenge at a CrossFit affiliate.

The study claimed 11 participants did not complete the challenge and return for follow-up testing.  According to the study, two participants cited time constraints and nine participants, 16 percent of the total, cited “overuse or injury” as their reason for failing to complete the study.  The authors also called into question “the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs,” even cautioning that the measured improvements from CrossFit training “may not be worth the risk of injury and lost training time.”

This injury figure was subsequently reported by mainstream media and was cited in other supposedly scientific studies. It has been repeatedly used as the basis of attacks against CrossFit Inc. and our affiliates. Yet it was completely false.

CrossFit identified the people who the study reports as having not completed the study.  Ten of those people have sworn to a federal court that they did not experience “overuse or injury” from the study.  They also swore they never told researchers they experienced any such problems.

Prior to the study’s publication, CrossFit told the NSCA it had investigated the injury data–by speaking with the data coordinator, the gym owner and certain of the study participants–and that the data was demonstrably false. CrossFit also told the NSCA the study’s authors were unwilling to explain the origin of the questionable data. The NSCA and the editor of its journal, William Kraemer, ignored their responsibility to follow-up on the information CrossFit provided them and published the study anyway.

One of the study’s authors has publicly stated the original draft did not include the fabricated injury data and it was included only after the NSCA journal’s editor asked for it.  Public records show the NSCA journal’s editor made it clear the study needed to emphasize this injury data. The NSCA agreed to publish the study after the authors added the false injury data and the statements about the “risk-benefit ratio” and the “risk of injury and lost training time.”

No appeal to NSCA’s nonprofit tax status, the supposed rigor of their peer-review process or CrossFit’s comparative success changes these facts. The NSCA bears direct responsibility for the harm this fraudulent study caused to CrossFit and our affiliates.

7 comments

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