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Lombardi, V P.1; Troxel, R K.1

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S203
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To monitor trends and to heighten public and sport medical personnel awareness, we tracked weight training deaths and injuries for 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 by using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) and US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC) Death Certificate, Accident Investigation, and Reported Incident files. Weight training accounted for an estimated 60039 hospital-reported injuries in 1998, 65347 injuries in 1999, 68054 injuries in 2000, and 74656 injuries in 2001. In 1998, there were 9 deaths in 304 days or an average of 1 death every 34 days. Ages of the victims ranged from 3 to 59 yr. All deaths involved males, most occurred in the home (78%) with the bench press or other supine exercise (67%) implicated. We are sad to report that these trends appear to continue into the new decade. Since January 1999, there have been 16 deaths associated with resistance equipment. Most victims (15/16 or 94%) were males, with ages ranging from 4 to 70 yr. At least 75% of deaths were associated with free weights and at least 50% with the bench press. Our goals as sports medicine specialists should be to eliminate these senseless fatalities and to minimize the incidence and severity of all resistance training injuries. Unquestionably, widespread education, mandatory equipment fatality warning labels, spotting, and an emphasis on technique rather than resistance, will help us achieve these goals.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine