In January, I wrote OK, So What Really Happened to Harry Reid? I noted the injuries that Reid suffered on New Year’s Day, in Las Vegas: multiple broken bones around his right eye, damage to the right eye, severe facial bruising, broken ribs, and a concussion. Was all of this really the result of losing his balance because an elastic exercise band broke? That seems unlikely, to say the least.
Would it be irresponsible of Hindrocket to speculate? Apparently it would be irresponsible not to:
When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year’s Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs, and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of “I walked into a doorknob,” it isn’t hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters.
Oh, but this isn't idle speculation -- Hindrocket has unimpeachable sources!
A friend of mine was in Las Vegas a week or two ago. He talked to a number of people there about Reid’s accident, and didn’t find anyone who believed the elastic exercise band story. The common assumption was that the incident resulted, in some fashion, from Reid’s relationship with organized crime. The principal rumor my friend heard was that Reid had promised to obtain some benefit for a group of mobsters. He met with them on New Year’s Day, and broke the bad news that he hadn’t been able to deliver what he promised. When the mobsters complained, Reid (according to the rumor) made a comment that they considered disrespectful, and one of them beat him up.
Well, that settles it then! Case closed!
No, wait -- Mr. H doesn't want to leap to conclusions:
Is that what really happened? I have no idea, but it is a more likely story than the elastic exercise band yarn.
To be sure, it was a Rube Goldberg-y sort of accident, if it happened the way Reid's spokesman said it did:
The accident occurred when an elastic exercise band broke, striking Reid in the face and causing him to fall, said spokesman Adam Jentleson. Reid struck part of the equipment as he fell, breaking multiple bones near his right eye.
As he hit the floor, he broke several ribs.
Can anything like this even happen? How many people have ever suffered serious injuries from these things?
Well, a lot, actually.
Go here if you want to read a brief article from Case Reports in Ophthalmological Medicine about a man who suffered a detached retina after his eye was hit by an elasticized exercise band. Go here if you want to read about a woman who's suing a Manhattan fitness club for $1 million because, she claims, "she suffered severe injuries, including a loss of vision in one eye, when an exercise resistance band snapped from her foot and hit her in the face."
Here's an account of a pretty terrible accident:
While attempting to measure how much force a heavy elastic exercise band produced when used for biceps curls, the band slipped loose and struck me in the right eye. The immediate pain was excruciating and lasted several minutes. After that a severe burning/itching sensation remained for hours. Vision through the eye was extremely blurred with a dark donut-shaped zone blocking one third of it.
I immediately went to my eye doctor, who sent me to a surgeon specializing in eye injuries. Upon inspection he determined that the cornea had been collapsed and the iris damaged to the point where it was bleeding into the space between the cornea and the lens....
What followed was a week of sitting upright in a chair virtually all the time in an attempt to hold the eye as still as possible. Once torn, the very delicate iris is prone to rebleeding after the initial bleeding stops. I even had to sleep sitting up. Three rebleeds occurred in spite of this and it was three weeks before the iris has healed. During this period there were days where the pain in the eye was so all-consuming that psychologically I ceased to exist other than as a vessel of the pain. Even high doses of vicodin had no effect on it.
... muscles in the upper left quarter of the iris were permanently torn. The iris can no longer contract, is frozen at 8 millimeters in diameter and off center toward the 10 o'clock quadrant. This wide open iris causes considerable glare during the day and when watching television. I have been told there is nothing that can be done to correct this condition.
You want more? There's this from a newspaper in Washington State:
One of those horror stories belongs to a Puyallup man who shared his story with me on the condition I don’t use his name. He’s hired an attorney in an effort to recoup medical expenses.
He was in a boot camp class with a bright red band fully extended with both hands over his head. When one of the handles broke, the band snapped around and hit him in the face. He broke his nose, and his eye filled with blood. A friend rushed him to the emergency room, where he underwent a barrage of expensive tests and needed stitches.
He couldn’t see with his damaged eye for several days, and his face was bruised for a month. He had to sleep sitting in a chair so the blood would drain from his eye.
And then there's this, from the Consumer Product Safety Commission's SaferProducts.gov site:
I was injured by the Target Embark resistance band while exercising to a dvd. During a pull up sitting on the floor, the door opened and the ball catapulted and hit me square in the right eye. I didn't even know it happened right away - it took me a minute to register something had even occurred. It caused a broken lower eye socket, a traumatic cataract, traumatic glaucoma, corneal damage and mydriasis. I have undergone 2 surgeries, one an implant to correct the fracture, and one cataract removal and pupil cerclage. I most likely will need to have glaucoma surgery and a corneal transplant. I am functioning well and can see decent since the surgery, but my eye is plagued by constant inflammation and general achiness.... I consider myself lucky to have vision in my eye still, but I definitely won't ever be the same.
This report was accompanied by a rather unpleasant photo:
That particular exercise band was recalled. It's one of several such recalls, as you can see if you go to the site of this Dallas law firm, which actively solicits clients for resistance band injury lawsuits, as does this California law firm.
So, yeah, these things can hurt you. I'll leave you with this, which I guess could have been a lot worse:
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog