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Treadmill Safety Risks Under Scrutiny After Exec’s Death

May 5, 2015 — Safety risks associated with treadmills are under scrutiny after a prominent Silicon Valley executive died after falling off one of the popular exercise machines while vacationing in Mexico.

David Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, fell off a treadmill at a resort near Puerto Vallarta. Local authorities told CNN he cracked his skull open and bled to death.

Although it seems like a freak accident, data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) suggests that serious injuries from treadmills are much more common than would be expected. Between 2003 and 2012, treadmills were linked to 30 reports of death, or about three per year.

According to the New York Times, treadmill injuries sent nearly 25,000 people to the emergency room in the United States last year. The Washington Post also warned that treadmills become much more dangerous in an era of high-tech and digital distractions.

Exercise sometimes exacerbates pre-existing heart conditions, and it is possible Mr. Sandberg had a cardiovascular event before falling.

It is also possible that a design defect on the machine contributed to his injury. The CPSC has issued several recalls for treadmills that can accelerate suddenly and cause a user to fall.

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