Jerry BrainumWeight-training fatalities on the rise
Lifting weights doesn’t seem to involve any type of death risk, yet statistics show that some people do die during a workout—a result of accidents that occur while actually lifting. A group of sportsmedicine researchers presented some findings regarding weight-training fatalities at the 2002 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Weight training accounted for 60,039 reported injuries in 1998, 65,347 in 1999, 68,054 in 2000, and 74,656 in 2001. In 1998 there were nine deaths in 304 days, or an average of one death every 34 days. All were males. Most deaths occurred in home gyms (78 percent), and 67 percent involved the bench press.
What’s likely happening is that some people are using more weight than they can handle without a spotter, and the weight is crashing down on their neck, choking them. Clearly a gruesome way to die, since the weight on the victim’s neck prevents him or her from screaming for help.
The lesson here is simple: If you train alone, don’t attempt to lift weights that you cannot safely handle. Or train with a partner who can spot you and remove the weight if you should fail during an exercise such as the bench press.