CrossFit, Santa Cruz, CA, filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Colorado Springs, CO, over a published study that CrossFit claims contains inaccurate data.
The lawsuit was filed in May in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, San Diego. The NSCA filed an answer to the complaint in June, denying CrossFit's claims.
At the center of the lawsuit is an article published last November in the NSCA's Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In the article, researchers from Ohio State University examined a group of 54 CrossFit participants from a local CrossFit gym based on its annual 10-week challenge. In the study, according to the authors, 11 participants dropped out of the program. Of those 11 participants, nine of them, or 16 percent, cited "overuse or injury for failing to complete the program and finish follow-up testing," according to the study.
CrossFit disagrees with the findings, stating in its lawsuit: "The report of a 16 percent 'overuse or injury' rate is at best the result of sloppy and scientifically unreliable work, and at worst a complete fabrication. It simply is not true that nine participants sustained injuries that prevented them from completing the study."
CrossFit also claims it spoke to a majority of the participants who did not complete the study. Those participants denied that they reported injuries had prevented them from completing the study, CrossFit claims.
On its website, the NSCA denies the allegations and claims CrossFit made against it and adds it will "vigorously defend itself in this baseless lawsuit."
"As with all research published in NSCA's journals, the article in question was authored by independent researchers and was accepted for publication following a rigorous peer-review process," the NSCA wrote on its website. "While NSCA has no opinion on the validity or invalidity of claims made in the article or the criticisms of same being leveled by CrossFit, NSCA has full confidence that the review and publication processes for research published in NSCA journals is beyond reproach."
Russ Greene, a spokesperson for CrossFit, shared with Club Industry an email he wrote to the author of a recent article about the lawsuit published by Deadspin. In the email, Greene questioned the NSCA's stance on the validity of the study, specifically on whether the 16 percent injury rate cited in the study was accurate.
"The NSCA's perceived status as a scientific authority is undeserved," Greene wrote. "They are unable to stand behind their own published research."
"Questioning research is not a rejection of science," Greene added in the email. "It is an essential aspect of the scientific method."