Tough outcomes for some self-chosen extreme-sports ‘Tough Mudders’

Michael Misialik, MD, writes in Boston Magazine:

Want an arctic enema? Electroshock therapy? What about the chance to walk over fire? Those are just a few of the more than 20 obstacles that participants must navigate through in the 10-plus mile Tough Mudder race…. Founded by Will Dean, a Harvard Business School graduate and former counter-terrorism agent for British Special Forces, Tough Mudder events have attracted more than a million participants since the first event in 2010, according to the event’s website. Since then, it has exponentially increased in popularity with events across the world.

But is it safe? The first-ever case study that details the injuries sustained during a Tough Mudder event was released in November and published in the journal, the Annals of Emergency Medicine….

The bottom line is that the injury patterns encountered are unique, unlike anything seen in other endurance races. The lessons learned from this case series are that there needs to better EMS preparedness and safety monitoring. Participants should be aware that no training will prevent injuries sustained from electrical shocks, crawling under barbed wire, or hypothermia from running through freezing water. Consult your physician before you decide to enter.