Obstacle course racing (OCR): Are They Safe?

Obstacle Course Racing with Dr. Catherine Logan

Obstacle course racing (OCR) has become a popular sport in recent years as it challenges participants' mental and physical endurance through a combination of trail running and obstacles.

There is currently only a limited amount of published work reporting injury types or rates at these events. A study by Coleby et al aimed to build on the current literature by analyzing injury rates and patterns at OCR events. The authors performed a secondary data analysis of deidentified medical charts from 33 OCR events in Canada from 2015 to 2017 was conducted. The scope of on-site care was first aid.

What did the authors learn?

A total of 1782 injuries occurred over 3 seasons from 73,366 participants, with an overall average injury rate of 2.4%; 1.0% (n = 17) of injuries required emergency medical services transport to a local emergency department, and the majority of these injuries were musculoskeletal in nature.

The most common injuries treated were lacerations and musculoskeletal-related injuries; 93.9% of the injuries were able to be treated on site.

These findings, in conjunction with the published literature, suggest that OCR medical teams should anticipate injury rates of up to 5.0% and a transportation rate of approximately 4.5% of those injuries to local emergency departments.

What does this mean for you?

The majority of injuries may be treated on site (lacerations, etc), but there is still a serious potential for life-threatening emergencies to occur. Train well and invest in appropriate attire and equipment.

Dr. Catherine Logan Headshot Dr. Catherine Logan, MD, MBA Catherine Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT, is a sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon specializing in complex knee and shoulder surgery at Colorado Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics (COSMO) in Denver, Colorado. As a former physical therapist & trainer, Dr. Logan provides a distinct expertise in sports injury, prevention, and surgical management.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test & Return to Sport

The Athletic Shoulder (ASH) Test may be appropriate to monitor neuromuscular performance of the shoulder joint in sports involving contact and overhead actions & to help assist in determination of return to sport. 

Which ACL Graft is Best for You?

The decision to choose an ACL graft can be overwhelming. This week, we will focus on the pros and cons of the major graft options & share new resources that we put together for The Sports Docs Podcast on this topic.