Why do we get injuries?

Well, this might really sound like a stupid question, and im not sure if it has been asked before, but here we go…

I can understand why athletes at my level would be getting injuries, many reason obviously, lack of regeneration techniques ex massage therapy etc… Strength imbalances, poor training surfaces, poor weather conditions, poor coaching or lack of a coach sometimes! etc… and the list keeps going
When we talk about WORLD CLASS ATHLETES, its different because all that i said above is not there! you have the good training conditions, proper testing/coaching/nutrition/physio etc etc

So this makes me wonder, guys like Ben Johnson and his hamstring injury in 88, was his hams not conditioned enough or strong enough after running 9.83 the year before and all the world class training of the previous years. Ato Boldon in 99 season, i mean, he been world champ since 92 and been a world class performer for 7years! is that still not enough. michael johnson in 97, after running 43.5 and 19.3 the year before, Mo greene missing out on the world champs this year, again strain at 70m mark, after all those years, and its not good enough, and our latest example features asafa powell, world record holder, obviously the fastest man ever, strong conditioned legs, and all a sudden his groin tears! what does that mean… so when is a person strong and conditioned enough to be avoiding any form of injury, or does that just not exist, its like this curse on any athlete that they can never avoid, no matter how careful they are??

i think a lot of this is due to pre existing injuries or conditions. many people forget that asafas groin injury was present ever since his first meeting with gatlin. it just didnt tear until later in the season.

so all these athletes have had an existing state of a past injury that just hits them later on in their careers??

elite athletes arent always perfectly conditioned either. and an imbalance at the elite level can mean a bigger injury. it could be a lot of things, elite athletes may be elite, but theyre not perfect. i would say most of the time (at any level) an injury is present long before it actually stops one from competing.

Two things come to mind –

  1. The closer you get to the limits of performance, the closer you get to the body’s ability to handle that stress.

  2. Pro athletes may not feel they can afford to take a layoff. The guys you mention get meet fees that make time off in season an unappealing idea, not to mention sponsorship commitments.

Good point Juggler, then:
1- “Genetic” weak link.
2- Repetitive eccentric stress.

On that point - do we think there is such a thing - a hereditary weakness in musculature??

Personally - not sure.

Good points. Also, consider that the body wants to remain in a state of homostatis. Training stresses this balance and the continuous(sp) tug-of-war is pulled violently in one direction when training errors occur resulting in injury.

Also, certain sports create imbalances in the muscloskelatel system resulting in injury. For example tight hip flexors in ice hockey players and unilateral imbalances in unilateral sports like tennis and soccer.


Not genetic in strict sense (i’ve put the “”), but everyone have some strong points and some weak points from birth.
More muscle imbalance are from traumatic events or visceral problems and some of this are “genetic”, muscle imbalance aren’t only structural.

Sport can exagerate some imbalance with hypertone or hypotone, fascial and vascular/linfatic problems, and this is a part of the game!

If you have a stomache some muscle can be weak for specific neurologic correlation.
Ditto for a diabetic people (genetic?), spleen disfunction can lead to specific muscle inefficience/imbalance (and recovery problems).

I.E. In my experience i’ve find some nutritional deficience cause the same muscle weakness (i.e. omega 3/middle gluteus).


I’ve noticed what i think is a hereditary hernia or weak abdominal link

When we talk about WORLD CLASS ATHLETES, its different because all that i said above is not there! you have the good training conditions, proper testing/coaching/nutrition/physio etc

Why can you buy a $3000 economy car and drive it around completely maintenance free for 50,000 miles before it ever has a SINGLE problem when these f-1 cars and drag racing funny cars have 10 people on a crew and hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend to prevent it yet still break down each and every race?

When we talk about WORLD CLASS ATHLETES […] you have the good training conditions, proper testing/coaching/nutrition/physio etc

Hahahaha… that was funny…

was his hams not conditioned enough or strong enough

A muscle that injures is not necessarily weak, a weak muscle doesn’t necessarily injure, but a muscle that is weakER at a certain moment in time, for whatever reason, is at risk of injury.

Something that, IMO, made sense of what the DB Hammer character wrote, is that you see an increase of injuries as weight training is implemented at junior level, that is due, still IMO, to the inability to manage the loading variables thus fatigue and strength fluctuations.

i think u guys may be over complicating things… the reason that we get injured or anyone deos is becasue of a lack of ability to absorb force, whether it be from an external source or by way of internal mechanics , alow me to explain. when you strain, pull, or tear a muscle its is casue because the muscle can not absorb the force generated by landing, attempting to create force or, the force generated by other opposing muscles. when u break a bone it because forec applied to the bone ,through landing or perendicular force is to much for the bone,(which though solid still has elastic properties as all things are) so the bones structual componets sucumb to failure thus we break bones, tear muscles and so on. so lets look at it for a sprinter. who posses some of the most developed hamstring strength and power? … sprinters!! YET ELITE LEVEL SPRINTERS STILL PULL UP TIME TO TIME. WHY!!! Simple even though they have the abliity to create force at amazing levels they are unable to effeciently control the nerological aspects of athletesism and i would argue that 99.999999% of all athletes in all sports are the same way. so wut the hell am i talking about? ok if your running an u need to turn your quads on alternative to your hamstirings back and forth back and forth then neuroligically this aspect must be trained. imagine if your quads create 100N of force and your hamstinrgs 80N. if your quads are on even alittle say 20N then the force of your hamstrings is hampered, performace is hurt and u can become hurt because your hamstrings are overloaded by external forces and the enternal ones of the quads. (this is a extremly ruff example). all though relaxing when u run has a great effect in preventing injury it can be better adressed through training. teaching your agnostic and atagnostic muscles to rapidly fire back in forth between the two, BUT even better yet train your muscles to absorb massive amounts of force. this is a nerological principle, we want when needed the maximum number of motor neurons to activate during eccentric muscle actions. So STRENGTH IS NOT THE KEY TO ATHLETIC PROWESS!!! Its all neurological…
it has to do with ballistic muscle action and the feed-forward system (LOOK IT UP IN SUPERTRAINING IF YOU HAVE IT IF NOT USE THE NET) hope that helps…

That’s one reason, but the fact is there are many reasons why people get injured.

Like landing wrongly in the triple- or long jump and totally smashing a knee or an ankle. Seen that once in a while.

I would be really be interested in seeing Charlie’s view on this in regard to Ben’s injury in 88. Charlie, how would you explain the reason for Ben’s hamstring injury in 88.

that is the only reason if u land wong on a triple jump and smash your ankle why did u get injured… you ankles tendons and ligaments were unable to absorb the force of gravity acting on you body. if your ligaments and tendons were able to absorb that force then you wouldnt get hurt


Just “pour parler”, why do you think an athlete gets injured by not absorbing forces even lower than the ones he’s been “absorbing” up to the day before?

What kind of force “absorbtion” take place in force generation within a muscle?

Does the antagonist need to “absorb” the force of the agonist?


ok, i think your looking at ina macroscopic way what im trying to do is break it down to its most particulate nature. in all the world why do solid think become unsolid…? for example why does metal break on an skyscraper beam… becasue the force acting on that beam is so great that eventually metal fatigue inssues and the beam breaks. now in most athletic endevours the body is not static as it is in the case of the beam. so the force acting on the object ie. your body part is moving (dynamic). my very basic point is that all materials have a breaking point. a point at which they can no longer endure a greater force (remeber weight is also a force in america atleast [mass X Gravity]) so every material has a breaking point even the tissues of your body wether cologen based (tendons , ligaments) or protein based (muscle tissue). so inturn one of the best ways to eliminate injury is to reduce the negative forces acting on a muscle such as antagnostic muscle groups thereby increasing the net force production. what does this lead to … better performance and less injury. if you dont believe me ask you buddy siff ill even give u a refrence # lol page 50 -51 section 1.9 cocontraction ( feedback system = bad j/k) and Ballistic movement (feed forward system = good)

“Does the antagonist need to “absorb” the force of the agonist?”
in truely great athetes antagonist and agonist muscle groups are not active at the same time but like a said 99.999% of athletes do not display this physiological ability and that is why injury runs rampid in sports today. its something that is just not addressed but has almost limitless ability to increase athletic performance.

The feed-forward system … know it, love it, live it… it makes truely great athetes what they are :smiley:

P.S. this is a great question one which isnot adressed enough in any atheltic concern. its these basic questions which get us reasearching again and improving athletic training knowledge and athletic ability. good job keep it up…