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Tragedy In The Tech World

Shock turned to sadness as news of Dave Goldberg's sudden death spread through Silicon Valley. Goldberg, previously of Yahoo and recently CEO of SurveyMonkey, was on vacation in Mexico with his wife Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and their two children. Although details remain hazy, it appears that Goldberg left his room to exercise; he was found several hours later by his brother on the floor near a treadmill, a wound on his head, with blood on and around him. Goldberg was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, but died shortly after arrival from head trauma and blood loss. The official statement from Mexican authorities was that Goldberg died from "accidental blunt force trauma while exercising." Goldberg was just 47 years old.


What may seem like a freak accident at first blush is not really freakish or that rare. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans are injured on treadmills, thousands end up in the Emergency Room--and a small percentage of those injured die. In fact, injuries due to exercise equipment nearly tripled over the twenty-one year period from 1991-2012. When trying to determine the causative factors for these startling statistics, experts have considered the following facts: (1) the exercise industry is growing at a robust rate, enjoying a 3.5% rate of growth in 2014 alone, and $84.3 billion spent on equipment, with treadmills continuing to be the top selling piece of equipment by a large margin, according to Sports and Fitness Industry Association; (2) more high-tech, high-powered treadmills are on the market, and some of these are difficult to use if a person is not trained on them or monitored while using them; and (3) the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile electronic devices distract treadmill users: the smartphone was introduced in 2007 and equipment injuries rose 45% over the next three years.

While Dave Goldberg's fatal accident is among the most tragic, other high profile figures have suffered serious injuries on exercise equipment recently. Senator Harry Reid temporarily lost vision in his right eye, broke several ribs, and sustained severe facial bruising and a concussion when he injured himself on exercise equipment New Year's 2015. He just underwent his second eye surgery.


Below are some helpful pointers on how to exercise safely on treadmills:

  1. Avoid distractions; do not talk or text while on the treadmill;
  2. Keep kids away from the treadmill, and avoid wearing headphones or earbuds so that you will be able to discern right away if kids are near the treadmill;
  3. Dress appropriately; pull hair up, wear shorts or form-fitting pants, and always wear walking or running shoes;
  4. Use safety features such as the emergency off switch or button, or safety key on a cord; attach it to your clothing before working out and store it out of the reach of children when the treadmill is not in use since it can also start the treadmill;
  5. Get on/off the treadmill correctly; hold on to the handrails, get on when the belt is moving slowly, and let go when you feel steady. When getting off, gradually lower incline and speed, hold handrails until the treadmill comes to a complete stop, then take a few moments to stand on the ground after exiting before starting to walk;
  6. Do not increase speed or incline too quickly;
  7. Face forward while on the treadmill, as you do when walking.


If you have been injured while using exercise equipment, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.

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Thomas Law Firm
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