Accidents Happen When You Are Tired Or Distracted


Hi folks,

Have you ever had a serious training accident? I have experienced several, and each one was at least to some extent my own fault. I was tired or lost my focus every time. These accidents included the following:

(1) A severely injured knee at the end of a long day’s skiing (mistake – full day ski pass on the first day of the season), which resulted in surgery.

(2) A bad bike wreck that prematurely detached the vitreous body from the retina in my right eye, an acceleration of the normal aging process, plus a bunch of ‘road pizza’ (mistake – tired after 100 mile ride, locked out of house and away from my transition gear, rushed to get key elsewhere, and down I went on wet leaves).

(3) Another knee problem, split meniscus with bucket handle tear (mistake –  running down some steps at the end of a grueling trail run).

(4) A badly strained right psoas (hip flexor) muscle (mistake – running directly after a 2 hour PowerCrank ride on my trainer, met a friend on the road, ran too fast, yikes), which killed my chance of a sub-4 hour marathon in Charlotte a few weeks later.

(5) A severely strained posterior tibialis muscle (mistake – not thinking when I took the orthotics out of my shoes and ran a quick two miles because light shoes felt so good), and most recently –

(6) A very close brush with death at the Lake Placid Ironman race, nearly flipping over a low stone bridge rail to a 50 ft fall onto rocks (I can see them now!). This was a truly close call, (mistake – ‘losing video’ due to tiredness in a race for which I was under trained). How I escaped this one, when several of my peers ended up injured on the rough roads, I have no idea.

Conclusion: Try to pay extra attention to your surroundings and the state of your body when you are tired or towards the end of long workouts, which is easier said than done.

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. Catharine Hennessy says

    Oh dear, you have quite the list, although when I look back, I have similar issues, minus the 50 foot fall, although can recall several close calls with horses when I was a large animal vet. Luckily, I learned how to read them early on, and as long as I paid attention, the situations did not escalate. However, currently am still nursing a hamstring pull or tear as a result of the Krispy Kreme challenge. Lesson learned, don’t run after standing in a pack of people for an hour in 35 degree rain. Well, at least don’t try that at age 40 surrounded by college aged people who’s bodies are bullet proof.

  2. Yes, an old message but an essential one.
    Over 100 years ago factory inspectors noted that most fatal accidents were near the end of long shifts.
    Similarly in recent times it has been noted that motor accidents on long journeys occur within the last 5 miles of home.
    Staying focussed is a must whatever you are doing.

  3. This is a good lesson for all parts of life. It’s about ‘mindfulness’, and knowing when to say ‘enough’, which at the time the body may not even know.

  4. Hi Marsha! Yep, mindfulness! I wrote a post about that, called “How do we become aware of that which we are unaware,” because it interested me. I think that the trick is to listen with all senses available! Even then, we miss the obvious for years, until eventually the universe hits us over the head with a newspaper enough times. Did you see the movie, Groundhog Day? Pretty well summed it up. Thanks for being a super-follower, I really appreciate your input. Cheers, Kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.