Is Your Industrial Athlete Ripe for an Injury?
by Mike Hoonhorst, CPE
This one is for all of the sports fans out there. Sometimes ergonomics and sports medicine is not entirely different. A couple of weeks ago, Matt Harvey, a New York Mets pitcher, suffered an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury which usually results in the famous Tommy John surgery to repair it. When listening to an interview with him, something stood out to me. He said that at first his arm just felt stiff, then it started to hurt over a period of weeks leading up to the injury.
As ergonomists, this is something that we look for with our industrial athletes. We think of it as a hassle—pain—musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) continuum. Those jobs that are a hassle to employees can escalate over a period of time to something that is painful. In order to be proactive, it is important to ask (and even measure) these hassles before work becomes painful or even causes an injury. This is the key to a good ergonomics program! We wish Matt luck and a speedy recovery. Go Tigers!