Manufacturer and Y Sued Over Exercise Ball

Jacksonville, FL — A Jacksonville, FL, man filed a lawsuit last month against the YMCA of Florida's First Coast and TKO Sports Group. The man, Peter Royal, claims that he was injured after an exercise ball that he was using exploded, breaking both of his wrists and his forearm, and injuring both shoulders.

Royal, who weighs 200 pounds, was leaning back on the exercise ball and about to bench press a pair of 75-pound dumbbells when the ball exploded beneath him, Royal's attorney Eric Ragatz says.

The incident took place in 2005. Since then, Royal has undergone five surgeries, racking up more than $100,000 in medical bills. The lawsuit is to help pay for those bills and for Royal's pain and suffering, Ragatz says.

Royal was not working with a personal trainer at the time of the accident but had been for the previous two years, he says. A Y personal trainer originally showed him the bench press on the exercise ball and helped him work up to 75 pounds, Ragatz says.

The ball Royal was using was 15 months old and not properly inflated, he says. A few months earlier a different exercise ball exploded during a group exercise class, he says.

The lawsuit also claims that TKO Sports, the manufacturer of the exercise ball, mislabeled the 65-centimeter ball as “anti-burst.”

Since 2003, there have been four complaints regarding exercise ball explosions filed with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The department estimates that 870 exercise ball users have been injured using exercise balls from various manufacturers since 2004.

“[Royal] wanted to warn gym goers of this potential hidden danger,” Ragatz says.

Because the case is pending, the Y was unable to comment on case specifics. However, John Ream, director of marketing and communications for the Y, says that all of the Y's personal trainers are required to have an active personal training certification and a related wellness or sports degree.

TKO Sports Group did not respond to calls for comment.

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