Stuart McGill: Scientific Odds Ratios and Injury

Another metric used for judging the worth of these various interventions is the odds ratio. To have an odds ratio, you need an established injury rate. Then, you intervene and say if the rate changed.

For example, if you smoke, you have doubled the risk of getting cancer. Your odds ratio would be a ‘2.’

In epidemiology, having an odds ratio of ‘2’ is quite spectacular. That’s very powerful evidence if you can show you’ve changed the risk by doubling it.

For three years we’ve been following 1,300 firefighters in the province of Alberta. We’ve got complete fitness data on only 280 of them—all kinds of health and lifestyle information. We have them perform exactly the same exercise and look, to give one example, to see who got a back injury.

As in our police studies, the ones who are getting hurt are men who are smaller and fitter. They had a better movement competency score.

Then, we went back and really studied what the injury mechanism was.
The back injuries were associated with lifting.
The knee injuries were associated with gait patterns and running on and off the truck.
The shoulder injuries were associated with pushing and pulling patterns.

These findings have huge implications. The evidence has suggested that movement patterns and behaviors can be changed with exercise. We’ve established that. You’re writing new engrams and coaching good form, but now we have the evidence for using specific screens for specific injuries.

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