Many of Us Use Exercise Balls in our Fitness Regimes, But What Happens When They Burst?
At least four to five times a week I exercise on what is supposed to be a “burst resisting” stability ball. I really never gave a second thought to the ball bursting since it was advertised as burst proof. However, in my day and evening job as an experienced Pennsylvania product liability lawyer, I came across a case where an exercise ball burst during a training session causing a 29-year old professional athlete to sustain a fractured right wrist and dislocation of the distal radial ulnar joint.
The injuries were so severe that the victim had to undergo a surgical open reduction internal fixation procedure which included the implantation of a metal plate and hardware. The victim was unable to participate in his usual sporting activities as a member of a professional basketball team and he filed a lawsuit based upon strict liability and negligence and breach of warranty claims against the ball’s manufacturer.
The victim alleged that the defendants were aware of the dangers of using the ball with weights but failed to warn users. The Sacramento Kings, the professional basketball team that the victim played professionally for, sought damages for $4 million dollars that it reportedly paid the player while he was injured.
It was alleged during the case that the exercise ball was marketed as being suitable for use with weights and had a 600 pound capacity. Allegations were asserted that the defendants were also aware of the dangers of using the ball with weights but failed to warn users. Plaintiffs were prepared to show other similar incidents and multiple prior lawsuits against the defendants where the ball allegedly burst. A confidential settlement was reached among the parties and the manufacturer agreed to circulate a letter reminding distributors that the inflatable exercise ball should never be used with weights.