Agility Steps & Mini Hurdles

A Hidden Impalement Risk?

crossfit accidentThere is no shortage of “Get Healthy and Fit” campaigns urging Americans to join a gym or participate in exercise programs. Growing in popularity are unique programs, often performed in groups, that involve more movement and energy than the typical weightlifting regime. While any program that improves health and well-being are commendable, it is critical that safety remain an integral part of the process.

Unfortunately, there are a growing number of stories emerging about participants in these activities suffering very serious injuries as a result of unsafe practices. One notable risk involves physical impalement while using “mini hurdles.”

The Dangerous Product

If you have been to a gym or CrossFit center recently, you are likely familiar with “mini hurdles.” Also marketed as “agility steps” or “step hurdles,” these products come in a few different shapes and sizes. The most popular products vary in size from six to twelve inches in height. As the name implies, these products are small hurdles, usually with two “legs” that rest horizontally against the ground with twisting plastic forming a solid bar raised and parallel to the ground.

The hurdles are used in various exercise programs, with participants hopping over them, usually at a quick pace, and often in a line.

But lurking at all times is a very serious injury risk that can arise suddenly, without notice.

If a participant’s foot hits the hurdle, it will usually tip over, with the two “legs” tilted upward, perpendicular to the ground. When this happens, the legs become an impalement risk–relatively sharp plastic objects sticking straight up from the ground. Anyone who happens to trip, stumble, or fall on a tipped over hurdle can be seriously injured.

The potential for injury is particularly high with group exercises during which multiple participants are using these products at once. It is easy to envision one athlete tipping over the hurdle, tripping up the person behind them, and causing a fall directly onto the upturned mini hurdle leg. It can all happen in an instant.

These are often not minor injuries. Depending on the severity and location of the impalement, victims can suffer serious punctures, blood loss, muscle damage, and internal organ injury.

Minimizing the Hurdle Impalement Injury Risk

As more stories of impalement by mini hurdles become known, it is incumbent upon those involved to take steps to keep participants safe. This can take many different forms. For one thing, there are various products on the market, some of which try to account for the risk with redesigned legs or use of safer material that are less likely to cause injury.

In addition, group leaders and trainers must vigilantly monitor these activities to identify when a hurdle poses a risk. Because hurdles come in various sizes, it is important to use hurdles that are commensurate with ones athletic ability. The larger hurdles are harder to jump over, increasing the risk of being knocked over and posing an impalement risk.

Were you Hurt by a Mini Hurdle? Contact an Injury Lawyer Today

If you or someone you know has suffered an impalement injury from a mini hurdle, agility steps, or agility hurdles, please seek out legal help as soon as possible. The lawyers at Appel Law Firm LLP are experienced in these and similar injury matters. Please send a message today to see how we can help you receive redress to help in your recovery.

Photo Credit: North Carolina National Guard via Compfight cc

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