Obstacle Racing’s Most Common Injuries—and How to Avoid Them
Mike Donoghue, the founder of Amphibious Medics, a private medical-staffing contractor for the nation’s largest events, including Tough Mudder and Spartan Race, offers his insider tips
For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.
40%: Cramps, weather-related illness
How They Happen:“On hot, humid days, you can get dehydrated,” says Donoghue. “If it’s cold, you can get hypothermic. It hap-pens to everyone.”
Avoid Them: Stay hydrated and fuel properly. Dress for the weather. World’s Toughest -Mudder racers often compete in wetsuits during cold seasons.
20%: Ankle Injuries
How They Happen: “Once you’re past an obstacle, your mind’s wandering, you’re chatting with friends, then you trip over a root and break your ankle,” Donoghue says.
Avoid Them: Pay attention. Always.
How They Happen: Crawling under barbed wire and over sharp rocks.
Avoid Them: Wear tight clothes that cover your body.
5%: Shoulder Injuries
How They Happen:The majority, says Donoghue, “come from monkey-bar-style obstacles or anything where you’re helping pull a friend over something.”
Avoid Them: Incorporate upper-body strength training.
25%: Other (Bruises, splinters, snapped femur, paralysis)
How They Happen: Jumping over ditches, diving into water—all the stuff you’re required to do during an event.
Avoid Them: Don’t throw caution to the wind just because the clock is ticking. When you step on a course, use good judgement.