Chad Nelson

Chad Nelson

Optimizing Your Life

i3 Concept for Injury Prevention

Let me ask you this: How do you know when you are injured?

When and how do you define “injury?”

Most people answer that they believe they are injured when they can no longer perform in their sport, complete a movement, or when their lives are significantly impacted by the problem.

In traumatic injuries (catastrophe), the injury inflection point is pretty obvious.

Here’s the problem. When it’s not traumatic, when does it start?

By definition, injury is “harm or damage”. When then, do we assign “harm or damage” to a movement?

If you deadlift or go for a run, and have pain the next day, are you injured? I think the average athlete or person would say, NO.

Whenever I teach a large group of people, we always ask them this question; “how many of you are pain-free?”

Guess what the numbers say? The answer is always well over 90% of the people in the audience are NOT pain-free?

So, are they all injured? Of course not. So how are we to think about this problem?

By the way, the statistics around this problem are consistent down to middle school-age kids. Are these kids all injured too?

What is clear, is that we need to have language and processes that pick up dysfunction before it crosses the “injury” line.

Other fields have already done this. In the industry, for example, Dr. Charles Perrow in his seminal work “Normal Accidents” also recognizes that not every mishap is an accident. He sets sub-accident level problems as “incidents”.

We can easily borrow his theory and apply it to our needs. Pain with movement or after a movement would classify as incident-level dysfunction.

When all my golfers perform a golf functional movement screen it gives a snapshot of what is going on in your body and will discover weaknesses or painful movements.

So, if many people regularly report “incident” level movement problems (pain), and they haven’t changed their movement quality or technique, what can we infer?

Do you have the full range of motion?

Do you have stiffness through range?

Are you making a motor control-related error?

Do we always have to wait around for pain and injury to know when we have a bio-mechanical or technique-related issue? The answer is of course not.

We need to be able to identify incomplete mechanics (motor control or tissue restriction) before you have potential “incident” level problems.

Welcome to the land of daily diagnostics. Or we can just continue to wait until you are in pain or break before we try to figure out what has been going wrong the way we always have.

This i3 concept (incomplete mechanics/incident/injury) has interesting implications.

Who should be addressing each of these areas?

If your physio or doctor isn’t your coach, you better have another plan.

Chad Nelson

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