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Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit


On June 15, 2019, CrossFit sent a correction to the Montreal Gazette in response to Jill Barker’s June 11 article, “Are CrossFit Enthusiasts More Prone to Injury?” Barker’s piece included numerous false statements and factual errors and neglects the context of the false injury data included in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s since-retracted Devor study.

Read MoreJill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

Two studies on Coca-Cola’s lack of transparency in commercial research funding


These two papers, one from 2018 and one from 2019, analyze the effectiveness of measures Coca-Cola has taken in an apparent effort to ensure transparency regarding the scientific research it funds. The 2019 paper assesses contracts between Coca-Cola and multiple academic institutions and claims Coca-Cola’s stated principles geared toward preserving researcher independence are ultimately undermined by the fact that the company retains the ability to terminate a research program at any time. The 2018 paper evaluates Coca-Cola’s transparency lists and finds that the company fails to share a complete list of its research activities and researchers often fail to disclose Coke funding.

Read MoreTwo studies on Coca-Cola’s lack of transparency in commercial research funding

Comments on 190621


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Matthieu Dubreucq
February 15th, 2020 at 4:50 pm
Commented on: Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

Thanks for putting the story straight.

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Christopher Michael
August 6th, 2019 at 5:26 am
Commented on: Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

What I'd like to know is why CrossFit hasn't sued. Have they published their response in another newspaper? Where is the bite behind the bark? Make this woman pay.

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Olivia Leonard
June 21st, 2019 at 10:22 pm
Commented on: Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

I would argue that–rather than surprising–it is essential for CrossFit, Inc. to respond to every false accusation and dubious implication, as part of CrossFit’s commitment to the thousands of affiliates and trainers who voluntarily associate themselves with the brand.

As the defender of that brand, it is essential to respond (yes, aggressively) against outright and deliberate bullshit, such as the NSCA’s data fabrication, but also against the kind of lazy, uninvested commentary that casually associates CrossFit training with high rates of injury, despite the fact that CrossFit training results in lower injury rates than single fitness disciplines presumed safe (such as distance running or weightlifting), as well as providing a path out of chronic disease and into health.

The reality is that the CrossFit methodology is not only safe, but it keeps you safe. The reality is that the CrossFit methodology is so efficacious that CrossFit’s competitors couldn’t beat it in terms of making people fitter or in the marketplace, and so resorted to a campaign of lies that still bears toxic fruit in ongoing and frequent citations of the retracted study that cropped up once again in Barker’s article and in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

That reality doesn’t matter to Jill Barker, nor to Aurel Wisse, who sees “balance” in Barker’s lack of interest in seriously weighing and presenting the actual facts of the matter.

But that reality does matter to the thousands of CrossFit trainers and affiliates who engage in lifesaving work in the service of their communities every day, only to be falsely labeled “dangerous” in the service of competitive advantage or a clickbait headline. And because it matters to CrossFit trainers and affiliates, it matters to CrossFit, Inc.

As for the rest of Aurel’s comment regarding the comparative quality of CrossFit’s training and credentialing, I think Greg Glassman’s Comment #20 is instructive here:

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Robert Labutta
June 21st, 2019 at 5:13 pm
Commented on: 190621

Not coincidentally, a wonderful symphony that is well worth the listen on World Music Day!!!

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Clarke Read
June 21st, 2019 at 4:13 am
Commented on: Two studies on Coca-Cola’s lack of transparency in commercial research funding

The disappointing conclusion that follows from these two papers is the need for continuous enforcement and oversight, even when written provisions would be sufficient to preserve scientific integrity. Given the the evidence surrounding Coke’s scientific activities presented here, it’s impossible to distinguish between (1) well-meaning researchers who received money from Coke but were not influenced; (2) well-meaning researchers who WERE influenced - not by any formal assertion but by “softer” pressure; (3) bad actors (i.e., individuals abusing science to advance Coke’s ends). This doesn’t seem to be a problem that can be sustainably solved, and so long as that’s the case, we’re right to question any study funded directly or indirectly by industry no matter what contractual protections are in place.

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Dan Palenchar
June 25th, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Agreed, the methods used by Coca Cola stack the deck and essentially ensure only favorable findings are published (or at a minimum that unfavorable findings are avoided). The scientific method should be guided by objectively bolstering or refuting a hypothesis based on unbiased production and interpretation of quality data. It's particularly alarming Coke exerts control over both the design and analysis of the data. Those experienced in actually carrying out research can appreciate that controlling the design of an experiment is a great way to produce or avoid specific outcomes, or at least reduce the probability these occur. Furthermore, if you can then control the analysis of these findings they simply cannot be taken at face value.

An important point that lies beneath this entire discussion is the issue of funding for scientific research in metabolic disease and human nutrition. Without adequate funding, researchers are forced to accept funding from sources like Coca-Cola which undeniably have skin in the game beyond simply finding out the facts. In the wake of rising health care costs associated with historic rates of obesity and metabolic disease, it makes financial and moral sense to make the health of the population a national priority that is funded accordingly.

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Katina Thornton
June 21st, 2019 at 3:14 am
Commented on: Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

I appreciate CrossFit, Inc's insistence on scientific rigor. CrossFIt gave us the first and only comprehensive definition of fitness. The fact that Jill Barker lumps CrossFit with hula-hooping and pole aerobics in her August 4, 2009 article is comical. Fast forward ten years and she is writing yet another article about this "flash in the pan fitness craze," that is equally as accurate.

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Bruce Becker
June 21st, 2019 at 3:11 am
Commented on: 190621

here it is

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Bruce Becker
June 21st, 2019 at 3:29 am

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Bruce Becker
June 21st, 2019 at 3:09 am
Commented on: 190621

Listen to... just also post a YouTube or some other link. Easy

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Aurel Wisse
June 21st, 2019 at 1:19 am
Commented on: Jill Barker Misrepresents CrossFit Injuries and Ignores Fake Injury Data Lawsuit

I'm surprised every time at the aggressive tone of CrossFit refutations. They demand retractions, sue researchers whose results they don't like, any means are ok to stifle the debate about the risks of practicing CrossFit, which there are, like in many other sports. The article in The Gazette is actually quite balanced, definitely not biased against CrossFit. I have noticed for some time now that CrossFit is very aggressive towards opinions that express the slightest criticism of the sport, or even that disagree with dietary recommendations from CrossFit. It's not a debate but a « shut up or else » attitude. What is wrong with the communications department of this company? While the all inclusive sport represented by CrossFit is a great idea and does a lot of good, maybe a. requiring a higher qualification than a one week-end course b. requiring significant experience in coaching the multitude of intense and complex movements and c. requiring a serious qualification in scaling in order to become an affiliate would go some way to reduce the injury statistics.

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Russ Greene
June 21st, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Don Quijote tilted at windmills, it is true, but at least there were windmills. Aurel Wisse surpasses even Cervantes - he tilts at air, in defense of vapors. Wisse asks what's wrong with CrossFit's communications department. No such department exists. That he would ask indicates dire unfamiliarity with the subject of his rant. Not one to let ignorance get in the way of articulating an opinion, Wisse presents unrequested suggestions for ways that CrossFit might "reduce the injury statistics." What "injury statistics?" Wisse cites none. He does imply reference to the NSCA's Devor paper, however: "sue researchers whose results they don't like." Might this piece supply the statistics upon which Wisse relies? If so, they are as real as CrossFit's communications department: the subjects have unanimously testified to a federal court that the paper's injury claims were false. Hence Judge Janis Sammartino's finding that the NSCA's "injury statistics" were officially false, "CrossFit has presented evidence showing the injury data were in fact false–regardless of whether the authors knew it at the time–and the NSCA has identified no evidence to the contrary." Let us give Wisse the benefit of the doubt: what other "injury statistics" might he be citing? Given that he's defending Jill Barker, he might be referring to the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine article, by Gallo et al, that Barker described. If so, Wisse still lacks a solid premise to support his allegation that CrossFit should adjust its training system. Actual "injury statistics" would need to control for varying levels of exposure and be based upon defined terms. Gallo's paper failed to meet both of these necessary requirements, leaving Wisse without a single source to support his "injury statistics" concern. Perhaps this is why he did not cite one. Now, onward to Wisse's defense of Jill Barker's "definitely not biased" article. Even Wisse will agree that "balance" cannot be obtained if a journalist presents unreliable sources as solid evidence. Barker committed exactly this offense, while omitting other, more relevant evidence. Alone, this might suggest mere laziness. Taken in the context of her 13+ year efforts to besmirch CrossFit's name, on the flimsiest of bases and reaching the silliest of conclusions, one can only conclude that Barker has it out for CrossFit. In sum, Wisse attacks CrossFit's communications department, in defense of Jill Barker's balance, out of concern for "injury statistics." That none of these exist confirms my earlier suspicion. Wisse surpasses even Cervantes' tragedy of madness. And they say post-modern writing has failed to deliver. No - look to the comments.

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Jeffrey Cain
June 21st, 2019 at 9:32 pm

Of course CrossFit, Inc. aggressively and proudly defends its methodology, trainers, and affiliates against those who would falsify data and engage in scientific misconduct in order to bring harm to the CrossFit brand. That’s one of the central functions of CrossFit, Inc.

By relentlessly defending the brand, CrossFit uncovered, and courts affirmed, a systematic and ongoing campaign by its competitors to discredit CrossFit by falsely painting it as dangerous.

CrossFit revolutionized the so-called fitness industry and vanquished its moribund competition, which now seeks unfair competitive advantage through state-sponsored fitness and nutrition licensure and soda-funded programs like Exercise is Medicine.

Industry-funded organizations have falsified research and engaged in scientific misconduct for the purpose of discrediting CrossFit. Their wrongful conduct goes far beyond harming CrossFit; it harms anyone who, looking to improve their health or fitness, turned away from CrossFit because they were influenced by false, industry-funded claims.

What 15,000 CrossFit affiliates, tens of thousands of CrossFit trainers, and millions of CrossFit adherents have shown, is that far from being dangerous, CrossFit is essential. Of course CrossFit will relentlessly defend its brand.

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John Miller
October 12th, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Amen! CrossFit use to sell a bumper sticker that read, “CrossFit” is Dangerous.” I have it on a stainless steel water bottle.

Everyone knows that the way people get introduced to the Olympic weightlifting movements is a recipe for injury. Talk to anyone thats been doing CrossFit longer than 10 years, and they will tell you of their shoulder injuries and or surgery.

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