NBC's "The Biggest Loser" lost a contestant, Laura, 24 years old, to a stress fracture of the hip yesterday 4/14/09. I'm not a fan of the show partly because the premise is absurd (how much weight can you lose in a really short period of time) and I can't watch trainers yell at their clients, humiliate them and them put them through drills that even Lebron James would find tough.
Apparently, Laura had been complaining of hip pain for some time so her trainer, Jillian, decides to take her in to a physician to be examined. An xray of the hip confirms that she has a stress fracture (a stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone). Both the physician and Jillian repeat to Laura how unlucky she is to get a stress fracture as if there's something mysterious about what happened. "You've worked so hard and so long, and now this! I feel so bad for you!"
There are a lot of reasons for a stress fracture but one thing's for sure. If you place too much force on your body without enough rest and sufficient nutrient supply, you set your self up for a stress fracture. Tiger Woods suffered from a stress fracture prior to the 2008 US Open. Stress fractures don't care if you're a professional athlete or a person who needs to lose 100 lbs. Too much stress is too much stress.
There are three things about what happened on the Biggest Loser that are troubling:
That a contestant was injured from a training routine that, from what I saw, was absurdly beyond her ability and the injury could have been prevented.
That people watching the show think that a stress fracture is just an unlucky thing that just sort of happens from training.
That Laura believed she should not or could not exercise and continue on the show because of the injury.
I know, this is TV show, and such nonsense makes for good ratings. But, it doesn't make it right because someone, somewhere makes a ton of money off the stupidity of one person and the resulting misery of another.