Weight Room

Weighing the Uncertain Outcome of Trial Against Settlement

February 05, 2013

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

You may have followed the Barnhard v. Cybex International, Inc. product liability lawsuit in which the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, reduced the lower court judgment by 31% to approximately $44 Million. Later, Cybex entered into a settlement agreement, agreeing to pay, net of insurance, $19,500,000.

The case arose out of an accident that occurred when Plaintiff Natalie Barnhard was working as a physical therapist and a 500 lb. Cybex exercise machine fell on her, resulting in paralysis. A jury awarded Plaintiff $66 million, finding Cybex 75% at fault.

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Dating At The Gym: What’s Appropriate?

April 07, 2011

Fitness Coordinator, Johns Hopkins University

If you watch the Bravo television series “Workout,” you’ve seen the entertaining and sensationalized side of gym-culture, spliced in with some of the realities of personal training. Recently the series called into question the ramifications of intimate relationships in the workplace. Jackie Warner — the owner and managing director of Sky Sport and Spa, the Beverly Hills gym featured in the show — began dating one of her employees, a personal trainer. When questioned on the affair, she stated, “A gym is a very different environment than say a bank or corporate structured environment. I’ve dated other trainers that have worked for me. Trainers date clients. Clients date clients. I mean, there’s flexibility in our environment… It’s just an easy environment to date in.”

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MRSA — The New Threat to the Health of Your Patrons

April 07, 2011

John Lentz
Director, Office of Recreational Sports
Indiana State University

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus — remember it, recognize it, respect it. MRSA (“mersa”), as it is commonly known, might be recognizable to the reader as the nasty bug that has been the serious concern of hospital patients and administrators for the past couple of years. It is a particular staph infection that is resistant to typical antibiotics. To those who are already ill and hospitalized, it can even become deadly. So what does this infectious disease have to do with the recreational sports field?

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Developing a ‘Safety Training Grid’

April 07, 2011

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
President, McGregor & Associates

Training employees in various safety protocols is a critical part of any department’s risk management plan. The challenges are numerous:

  • Significant number of part-time student employees
  • High turnover of employees
  • Significant number of training protocols to cover
  • Consistency of training between program units

Some departments adopt a ‘centralized’ approach to safety training i.e. all ‘essential’ training is coordinated centrally, usually through one person or a training committee (with individual program units responsible for any training specific to their program e.g. aquatics ‘in-service’ training). Other departments require each functional unit to be responsible for their own training (which potentially results in inconsistencies within the department unless someone is monitoring or tracking overall training efforts).

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Five Toe Shoes

March 31, 2011

Jim Fitzsimmons
Director of Campus Recreation
University of Nevada, Reno

If you haven’t seen them yet, my bet is you soon will. The Vibram Five Toe shoe, think toe sock on steroids and you’ll get the picture. More and more people are wearing them for running, sports leisure and working out.
Some facility operators have banned people wearing these shoes as they see them as a liability. Some believe they violate the intent and spirit of an ‘athletic dress code’. Most fitness facilities have some sort of a policy regulating footwear and often you will see the terms ‘closed toe’, ‘athletic’, ‘sport’ or ‘appropriate fitness type’ used to describe acceptable footwear.

Where did the five toe come from? You may not have heard but there is a bit of a grass roots rebellion going on against the running shoe industry. In the eyes of many this industry has perpetrated one of the largest crimes against the running community by introducing us to the cushy- heel countering-supination/pronation correcting- gelled-air injected- arch supporting shoe. When used for running these shoes allow the runner to over stride and heel strike in a unnatural manner leading to a running stride that is mechanically bad, inefficient and in the opinion of some, pathologic. We could go into this argument and the supporting data, but that is not the purpose of this article.

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