More often than not injuries come as big surprises. Only in hindsight do we interpret the warning signs.
If only we understood those signals, could we have avoided that injury?
You would think we will learn and when millions and millions of dollars are in the line, we would do a better job screening other players or athletes for injury risk and stop them before they even happen.
Our lack of success in predicting what appears to be preventable injuries is not for lack of trying. There's plenty of people out there who claim to have “the answer” and millions of dollars a year on the world or spend on coming up with a useful model.
But if injury risk factors differ more than just something random occurrence of a specific set of telltale signs that can be teased out of a noisy environment. With a right test screen question or procedure it becomes clear how complicated injury prevention really is.
We have a pretty good idea about some of the things that increase the risk of injury in sports within an individual factors like age, sex, training load, among many others exist along with environmental factors that we often forget about, like rules, tasks, equipment...
When there's so many contributing factors to be measured and unmeasured it becomes next to impossible to find any one feature that is predictive.
So when you see a claim, “that one thing” can prevent injuries, you know you're being sold our gross oversimplification… a two dimensional view of a three-dimensional world.
After accounting for all the things that could impact injury risk you end up with a world that has more dimensions than we can ever pretend to be certain about.
If we can't be sure about preventing injuries, do we just give up and become PT nilus? I hope not!
We still can meaningfully reduce injury risk if we come up with broad strategies that factor in the hard to decipher relationships between the risk factors, without claiming to understand every mechanism at work
Interventions like fatigue monitoring, variability, and training and movement approaches, in general progressive training are all great options.
Let's set a new bar for success!
Preventing injuries is like avoiding a car accident, I hope you do that everyday but if it happens once or twice in your life, it's likely not at fault.
So instead of avoiding a negative, try chasing positive. It's easy not to hurt yourself but it's hard to achieve wild goals.
Hope that makes sense.