What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Joes Barbell
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I’m as guilty as the next guy and love watching epic fails.  Take for instance this compilations of gems courtesy of #FailNation.  
So why the fuss? Why bring it up?  Why drag these poor souls and their boxes through internet sludge for anything more than a chuckle?  Mainly because this stuff shouldn’t happen.  I get it.  Glass breaking, funny.  The Ceiling falling apart, barrel of laughs.  Guy falling off pull up rig, hilarious. Well, until that accident keeps you out of the gym or worse, puts you in the hospital.    
From the looks of most of these scenario’s the athletes looked experienced (kinda), there were qualified coaches present (maybe) and the scene was scanned for hazardous material.  Well, except for the cases where they weren’t (to many).    In my honest opinion most of these accidents happened because the athletes and coaches in the room were smart enough and motivated enough to be dangerous but lacked the thoughtfulness to ask a simple question.  
What’s the worst that could happen?  
Do athletes in CrossFit Gyms and garages really need to train until they get hurt?  Or, construct these set ups that put themselves in harms way?    
I have had the fortune of competing and training at a pretty high levels.  Riding the coat tails of some giants and hanging on for dear life I was fortunate enough to play at the gameswith CrossFit 808 in 2013.  See… 
hey you, where’s my beer (that’s me on the left)

Not under this fucking worm (and again in the middle)
I even posted enough of a total last year to qualify and participate in USAW’s Senior Nationals in Salt Lake City.  See…

Leading up to those experiences I was fortunate enough to not be a part a single #FailNation worthy video.  However, I was a part of some near misses.  Including some potentially nasty accidents involving my kiddos. 
With the popularity of CrossFit, “functional” fitness, and training with performance at heart coaches and athletes need to consider what’s the point?  Why am I training?  What am doing this for? And finally, what is the worst that can happen today?  Are some accidents unavoidable?  No.  They all are avoidable.  In a controlled setting where you are paying anywhere from 100-500 dollars a month (maybe more) there should be someone smart enough in the room to keep you safe.  And, if the place you train lacks a brain you need to pay up and find a place that has a brain.  At least that’s the attitude that needs to take precedent.    
I’ve been there gang.  Shit happens.  Take for instance this gem of yours truly working some clean and jerks in the garage.  
This is light weight, there are about 6 smart people in the room, yet, an epic fail just about took place that would have put my post vasectomy mid-life crisis recovery tour on hold a few weeks.  Hitting that jerk at 70% wouldn’t have been nearly as worth it if I blew out a tire in the process.  As coaches and athletes we need to do a better job of measuring risk reward and determining the safety of a situation.  
I get it.  We want to give it our all.  We all want to train hard, get rabdo and live to tell the tail, its fun.  But please, let’s be honest – past looking good naked (#LGN), being mobile enough to chase down some mare or playing with your kids why are you really doing any of this?   As great as my experiences were at nationals and the games, I can say with confidence that no matter how I performed in training or in the events themselves my life was going to be about the same.  I can even make the argument that training as hard as I did to play in those big events effected my quality of life more negatively than positively.  When I flew home to be with my family after the games I was right back to coaching, changing diapers, wiping noses, and playing tickle and poke with the wife.  After I flew home from nationals I was right back to coaching, changing diapers, wiping noses and playing tickle and poke with the wife.  See my point.  
Should you train hard?  Yes. 
Are there times to give it your all?  Yes.
Should you have tomorrows training session in mind and the fact that no matter how much you PR your box jump your wife, kids, and real friends generally won’t give a shit? Yes
Fact is you probably aren’t good enough to be the top 1% that can live fat, free and famous on your athletic and training prowess. 
As a Strength and Conditioning Coach I always have my athletes next session in mind.  I always want them in a position where they can train one more day and PR tomorrow.  I would take it personal if an athlete under my guidance suffered an injury that didn’t allow them to get out of bed, become an infamous interweb accident, or worst case scenario end up on a stretcher.  I hate to bringing the KevinOgar situation…. 
I really believe Ogar’s accident could have been avoided had the set up placed athlete safety over competition convenience.  I 1000% get that hindsight is 20/20.  Who saw this happening?  It was a tough one but fortunately Kevin is making a recovery and we have all learned something.  I for one refuse to lift with plates behind me.         

Safety first gang.  Train hard, leave it on the line but understand your limits and consider the worst thing that could happen.  I guarantee if you do going six for six won’t be an issue – you might have to wait for tomorrow but at least you know you will be walking into the gym.