Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tragedy on the Treadmill - Don’t Let It Happen to You

What a tragic story this week when Dave Goldberg (CEO of Monkey Survey), husband of Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg, died after falling off of a treadmill at a resort in Mexico. There are not many details about what happened, but it does appear he was alone at the time. How ironic it seems that a 48 year old man is engaging in something to keep himself healthy and fit and this devastating thing occurs. It’s just so damn sad.

There have been countless times when I’ve been on a treadmill, especially while doing speed work, that I have thought “Man, if I fell of this thing and slammed into those machines behind me, I’d be toast.” In fact, one day I did get on a treadmill when it was ON and got ricocheted right off of it. I have laughed about this too many times to count, but it actually could have had a horrific ending.

Everything, and I mean everything, has a danger warning these days. It does get a bit ridiculous. It seems there is nothing we can do that doesn’t have some crazy inherent risk to it. I grew up in the age of no seatbelts, helmets or sunscreen (not saying this was a good thing) – but, wow times have changed.

I try not to let fear hold me back from doing things I love. I figure I could just as easily die choking on a grape or getting hit by a texting driver as I could die skydiving or running on a trail where there are mountain lions. If you let fear restrict you, you will never do anything and that is definitely not how I want to live my life.

That said, I am not here to say don’t run in treadmill, but I am here to say, use caution. Here are 8 ways how.

1. Don’t get apathetic while you are running on a treadmill. Stay alert. Be aware of the button you push or the rope you pull should something happen. If you are using a device like a phone or if you are watching TV be extra careful.

2. Try to run on a treadmill when there are others around. At your local gym this is easy to do as there are usually a plentitude of gym rats around. If you go on vacation and are at the fitness center at a time when no one is there, consider picking a different activity, bring a buddy with you or go at a time that might be more crowded. If you run at home on  a treadmill, try to pick a time when someone is home and knows what you are up to. Or, at least have your phone within arms reach should something happen.

3. Don’t run at speeds that are so fast that they start to make you feel out of control. Yes there are those very experienced and coordinator runners who can do intervals at 9 or 10 mph, but this is not for everyone. Make sure you always feel in control.

4. If you have kids, always make sure they are supervised when on and around the treadmill. There have been many injuries and deaths to kids that have involved treadmills, especially when the child is under 10 years old.

5. Be sure to run on the middle to the front of the rotating belt. Don’t get too far to the back or you could risk falling off.

6. If you need to get off the treadmill mid-run, pause or stop it. Don’t try to get off while it’s moving. This should be obvious, but you never know. Clearly someone got off the moving treadmill that I stepped onto that one crazy time.

7. If you are new to the treadmill, take time to adjust to speed and inclines. There actually is some coordination involved in using the machine. Think of it as a learning curve for hamsters.

8. Although you might want to stare at your gorgeous new running shoes or take a glance at that beefy guy beside you, do not do so while on the treadmill. Keep your glance forward or you could risk losing balance.

Ever had a scary incident on the treadmill? Aside from what I said above, I once had a custodian person unplug my treadmill at the gym while I was running. Nice way to come to a very abrupt and surprising halt.

Any other safety tips to add?

 

SUAR

32 comments:

  1. You wouldn't believe how many people I have seen try to get off the treadmill while it is moving and then try to jump back on. Never works.

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  2. I've only had one treadmill incident where I almost met my demise. Our dog, Yoshimi, tried to jump on the treadmill with me....Apparently, he thought it looked like a good time....He was a puppy at the time and jumped right in front of me. He didn't understand what to do and went limp, then flew into my legs which caused me (and him) to fly off the back. Neither of us were hurt and I wished we would have caught it on video....In hindsight, it could have ended really bad

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    Replies
    1. Wow. That IS scary. I would never guess a puppy would jump on a moving treadmill.

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    2. My chow (not a puppy) jumped on the treadmill and slid under me. That was scary.

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  3. I've seen two people go flying on the treadmills at our gym. It's always scary---and sadly, in both cases, it was due to straight stupidity. "Let's turn the treadmill to full tilt and jump on!" *sigh* SMH

    In all seriousness- accidents happen to the best of us every day though. Great tips! Very sad about Dave...

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  4. Yup, I had one suddenly start smelling like burning plastic/electronics and then stop abruptly. Luckily I was in the cool-down slow jog at the end of my workout, so I didn't fall on my face. The treadmill was toast and had to be replaced, and I've been super-careful since then.

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  5. This is so sad. I did fall off my treadmill in my basement once, slamming into the concrete block wall behind me. I laughed at the time, but my husband and daughter were asleep as it was early in the morning. Who knows how long it would have taken them to come find me if I had hit my head into the wall and fallen unconscious? Great safety tips!

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  6. In regards to number 4....I haven't had a treadmill accident but one of my friend's kids got a treadmill burn when playing on our treadmill unsupervised. We later discovered a hole in the wall behind the treadmill. Not exactly sure what happened there. Also, I remember several years ago reading about Mike Tyson's 4 year old daughter dying after a treadmill accident. Very sad.

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    1. Yes, I think Mike Tyson's daughter got the power cord around her neck? So tragic.

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  7. I haven't gone to Mexico for recreation since Natalie Wood fell off her boat. I think certain things should be considered off limits in Mexico. Stick to drinking tequila shots and similarly safe activities.

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  8. I also got on one while it was still moving (I didn't realize it was on) and flew off the back into a row of ellipticals. I happened to be on a cruise ship and some jerk asked if I was part of the entertainment. I had an awful burn on my leg...though it does make for a funny story today. Helpful tips here!

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  9. About two months ago I saw a teenager in my gym trying to impress his friends. Like Spinal Tap, he cranked it up to 11 (mph). He soon went flying off the back of the treadmill, landed on his butt, with his head just inches from a weight machine. He bounced right back up, while his friends doubled over in hysterics. Ah, youth. I'm sure he has no idea how lucky he was.

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    1. I would KILL my kid. That is so scary

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  10. This is a really sad story. I totally agree that accidents can happen anywhere/anytime and I refuse to live my life in fear. Not gonna die on the couch.

    The power cord to my treadmill came out when I was running once. It was quite an abrupt end to my run. My husband thought it was hilarious, since I wasn't hurt, until a few days later when he went down while on his bike trainer! Neither of us were hurt, but we often tell people it's safer to exercise on the roads/trails than it is in our garage.

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  11. I gave up dreadmill running because I apparently list to the right. It ends badly when one foot lands on the non-moving side. I've never been able to figure out which foot I saw above my head when I flew off because it all happened so fast. Luckily just bumps and bruises but I hated running on it anyway so I'm happy to suffer through any weather to avoid it.

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  12. Over the winter, I was using a gym treadmill and trying to do 800m repeats on it. I'd press the "up" button over and over to reach a 6min/mile, and then "down" repeatedly to go back to a 10min/mile recovery. The 'mill must've gotten pissed with all my button pressing and decided to "give me the business," as my Nana would say. 6min/mile was reached, but it didn't stop there. It rapidly increased in speed until I looked like the Roadrunner on that thing. Somehow, I managed to jump off it and promptly informed the gym employees that it was possessed. It's funny to think about it, but I could've been seriously injured!

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  13. I fell while running on the treadmill just a few weeks ago. I got some nasty abrasions and it felt like I bruised my tailbone. I'm OK now, but that got my attention.

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  14. So sad. I've always hated the treadmill. I am uncoordinated and always feel like I'm going too fast, going to fall off. I'd rather run outside in the rain than on the treadmill.

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  15. My treadmill is old and sometimes the belt slips. Sometimes it shoots random pieces of plastic at me. I don't run on it much--I'd rather run outside.

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  16. That is so sad.
    When I was in high school our neighbor let me use his treadmill while he was away. It was my first time on one. I somehow got thrown off, hitting his window which shifted his curtains enough to get caught in the belt somehow and torn down. I was horrified. In retrospect it was completely hilarious. I have been on a treadmill a handful of times since and every time I have images of being thrown backwards again THE ENTIRE TIME. I have to run outside. I can't take it.

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  17. A young woman at my gym found out she had a serious heart condition on a treadmill. She was walking on the 'mill beside me, passed out and hit her head, which caused her to have a seizure and stop breathing. She was blue by the time they administered an AED to bring her back.

    Thankfully, the gym staff was well trained and ready for an event like this to happen. They did an amazing job and she was breathing seconds later. She survived and ended up needing a pacemaker. She's otherwise healthy, in her 20's. You would have never known by looking at her that she had a heart condition, and if she had been running outside, she wouldn't have survived. No one would have been there to help her.

    Might be a good thing to note if your gym has an AED and if the staff is trained for it and for CPR. Also, make sure you have ID on you -- even at the gym. You never know what might happen and who might need your emergency contacts.

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    1. Great advice. And, glad she is okay!

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  18. Never thought of the TM as a danger...still thnk it's a great option

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    1. I agree...but I think it's good to consider some safety tips.

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  19. Such a tragic accident :( My treadmill is in a small room and backs right into a wall. Once or twice I've kind of loss my balance or slipped back without realizing and hit the wall before catching myself. I wonder if it's better or worse to have it so close to the wall like that?? Any thoughts? Eeek!

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  20. This really is a sad story, but it just solidifies my resistance to running on a treadmill. I probably have a better chance of getting hit by a car or struck by lightning, but at least I'll be out doing what I love, right?

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  21. I had a friend fall on the treadmill and had scabs on her forehead nose and chin from getting tread burned

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  22. All the treadmills in our campus fitness center/hotel fitness centers I've visited have a safety clip that stops the motor if you get too far back and the cord pulls the plug. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw a model that didn't have one, and some of those little Holiday Inns seem to just have a decent-ish home model, not a heavy-duty commercial one. Shouldn't that be in the safety tips, or is this somehow much rarer than I think it is?

    The lone time I stepped on a loose shoestring and stumbled while going pretty fast, said safety tether meant the difference between flying off, possibly into a leg press machine, and my slightly ungraceful but very gentle hop off the back of the stopped belt. At worst, I would have just gently toppled over.

    I wear that thing like I wear my seatbelt.

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