Common Resistance Band Injuries
Injuries from the use of exercise resistance bands and tubes have skyrocketed in the last ten years. These injuries began to be noticed by the medical community in the early 1990s, and they have grown exponentially since then. In particular, injuries to the eyes, face, and other sensitive body parts are frequently experienced when the energy stored in the band is released and redirected at the athlete, resulting in serious personal injury
Here’s what an ophthalmologist said at a deposition taken when his patient (and our injured client) asked him for a medical opinion regarding her injuries and what was possible when bands snap:
Q. Doctor, what’s the worst thing that can happen when a band snaps and hits your eye?
A. Well, one the bad things would be a hyphema (blood in the eye in front of the lens). The patient could also develop a
vitreous hemorrhage, which is bleeding in the back of the
eye, and long-term glaucoma and a retinal detachment.
Q. These are things that can make you go blind?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. So a band injury like your patient suffered could
possibly be so bad that she could lose her vision in an
Q. And that could happen to anyone regardless of
age, make, or model of athlete?
Q. All right. If you’re old enough to stretch the
band, you’re old enough to suffer the injury?
Some of the most frequent injuries caused by workout bands include, but are not limited to:
- Eye injury including permanent vision loss
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Dental damage
- Facial fractures
- Broken noses
- Cuts and lacerations to the face and body
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Hand injuries
- Bruising and swelling
- Nerve damage including bell’s palsy
- Back injuries including bulging and fractured discs
- Traumatic brain injury
All of these injuries may require expensive surgery or treatment that may not correct all complications. You deserve just compensation to cover all medical bills and lost wages.
Resistance Band Recalls
Companies based in the United States buy these products wherever and however they are produced, then “brand” them with outward signs of reliability or quality that the bands simply do not merit.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the proliferation of cheaply designed and constructed bands that have no inherent safety measures in their creation, has led to large scale recalls of these products, such as:
- February 2011: EB Bands (Everlast – Sportline names); about 27,000 units
- September 2011: Embark branded bands; about 450,000 units
- January 2013: Implus branded bands; about 76,000 units
- January 2015: Pro Performance banded bands; about 52,000 units
- September 2017: Dicks Sporting Goods branded bands; more than 200,000 units;
- September 2019; Fit For Life (aka SPRI) branded bands and “heavy resistance tubes”; about 95,000 units
The Problem With Resistance Band Manufacturing
There are absolutely no industry standards or guidelines that exist regarding the manufacturing of these exercise resistance bands and tubes. For example, there are no material specifications; no performance requirements (minimum or maximum); and no warning requirements. This violates every major rule of product manufacturing, including basic safety rules that:
- A product design must eliminate foreseeable danger wherever possible
- If it’s not possible to take the danger out of the product design, you must guard the user against it
- Where it’s not possible to either design the danger out or guard against it, you must give warnings and instructions so the product can be used safely
Exercise Bands Need Proper Warnings
There is often no label on the band telling the user pertinent information for safe operation, such as:
- Resistance bands should be inspected before each use
- Resistance bands should be replaced regularly (and certainly within 2 years of production)
- Resistance bands should NOT be aligned with face or eyes
- Because resistance bands are rubber based—like the tires on a car—they will degrade with time, continued use, temperature, chemical exposure (such as chlorine), and exposure to UV rays from sunlight.
- Resistance bands are best stored in a cool, dark environment, and should be given silicone/lubricant treatments to maintain their integrity
The above information is rarely communicated to the purchaser or user, whether they are exercise facilities, professional, or ordinary athletes trying to engage in exercise.
The vast majority of resistance bands and tubes consist of an elastomeric band with a foam sleeve. That foam sleeve does next to nothing to prevent damage to the inner tube or to prevent failures and snap back. Better bands and tubing—such as those that are surrounded by nylon webbing—are available for purchase for only a few dollars more per band. However, gyms, personal trainers, and group fitness leaders tend to purchase the cheapest band available.
A policy that facilities and professionals should adopt (which we have yet to encounter) is to:
- Make sure that only bands with safety measures are purchased (such those with nylon sleeves, and/or those with nylon cords that limit their stretchable length)
- Replace bands and tubing every year
- Never purchase bands or tubing with hard plastic handles, which often fail under tension
- Teach the trainers and professionals who handle these bands that:
- The bands and tubes must be inspected carefully before each use
- The bands and tubes can never be used in a way that aligns them with the face, eyes, or any other sensitive body part
In the absence of any of these instructions, both the professional and, worse, the exercise participant have no knowledge of the risks inherent in the use of these bands they otherwise believe to be safe.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys
Exercise facilities, professionals, sellers, and distributors of exercise bands all have a duty to develop industry safety guidelines. Only rules like these will change the playing field materially, prevent injury, and protect end users of the product.
Noel Sevastianos and his team of injury attorneys at Rogers, Sevastianos & Bante, LLP accept cases involving injuries caused by the failure of exercise resistance bands and tubes. If you or someone you know suffered an injury from these products, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a FREE CASE CONSULTATION. We are available to speak with you at your convenience and can be reached at 314-725-7577.