CrossFit Craze: Are these warrior-like workouts damaging your body?

Posted at 11:29 PM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 23:37:44-04

You`d never know it watching him now, but former Navy flight officer Bill Schlemmer was severely injured while CrossFit training back in 2003.

“Fast-paced pull ups where you load your body at the bottom of the pull up and unload at the top and repeat. So I ended up tearing that tendon that was probably the most painful,” says Schlemmer.

It sidelined him for about six months, but like many die hard CrossFit athletes, he got back in the game and then he was injured again.

“The second injury I had was just a typical older person injury of the rotator cuff doing a similar exercise,” says Schlemmer.

While he doesn`t do CrossFit classes, he still likes some of the exercises but his aching shoulder reminds him to take it easy.

“It’s still there. It’s not right. I have to be smart about what I do,” says Schlemmer.

Most of the injuries Dr. Brick Campbell sees at the VA Institute of Sports Medicine in Virginia Beach involves the knees and shoulder.

“Some people will continue even after these injuries when they damage the labrum or cartilage of the joint. You’ll have consequences sort of forever in that shoulder,” says Dr. Campbell. “Some of the damage is frankly irreparable.”

And that`s why Rob Wilson at CrossFit Virginia Beach explains how technique and form are the most important thing when it comes to being a CrossFit athlete.

“If we hit an intensity point where the mechanics break down to a level that`s unsafe, then we back it off and we revisit mechanics,” says Schlemmer.

He watches his clients like a hawk to make sure they are lifting smart.

He says that`s why most of the athletes in his gym have been coming to him for years without any injuries including 50-year-old Pete Cawley who has been going there for six years.

“Fortunately, I’ve not been hurt. I know some people in other boxes have or maybe they had an old injury they never learned how to correct so far so good,” says Cawley.