Dave Goldberg's death highlights unseen dangers of treadmills

Facebook exec's husband killed in treadmill accident
Facebook exec's husband killed in treadmill accident

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Story highlights

  • It's unclear what caused Goldberg's fall
  • Mike Tyson's daughter died in a treadmill accident

(CNN)How does a seemingly healthy 47-year-old millionaire die in a treadmill accident?

While it's unclear what caused Dave Goldberg's fall, it turns out treadmill-related accidents are quite common.
Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died Friday after he fell and hit his head on a treadmill during a family vacation in Mexico.
    He suffered from traumatic brain injury and hypovolemic shock, a condition tied to severe blood and fluid loss.
    Last year, emergency rooms saw 24,000 injuries related to the treadmill, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    The machines' dizzyingly fast belts can lead to a loss of balance, resulting in bruises, broken bones or worse. One can also get entangled in its cords, which can cause asphyxiation.
    But deaths such as Goldberg's are rare.
    "There have been 30 reported deaths associated with treadmills for the 10 year period from 2003-2012 or an average of about three per year," the safety agency says.
    The last year for which full records are available is 2012.

    Another treadmill incident

    Most treadmill incidents rarely make headlines. But this one did.
    Six years ago, the daughter of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson died in a treadmill incident. The girl, 4, was strangled by a cord connected to the machine. An investigation showed there was no foul play and the treadmill was not running at the time, according to the boxer.
    Experts warn parents to keep children away from treadmills -- both stationary and moving -- to avoid such accidents.

    How to stay safe

    As friends and relatives mourn Goldberg's death, experts are cautioning treadmill users to be careful.
    Treadmills are among the best-selling exercise machines in the United States, with nearly 28 million users, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
    Consumer experts urge users to ensure they use the safety key, preferably by clipping it to their clothes to ensure the treadmill stops when one falls.
    "If you fall, the key will pop out of the console and the treadmill should come to a safe stop," Consumer Reports says on its website.
    They also warn against starting the machine while on the belt to avoid getting jerked when it abruptly comes on.

    Don't jump off

    Looking down at your feet while on the treadmill is dangerous, experts say. It can cause one to lose balance and tumble off.
    Jumping off the machine before it comes to a complete stop can destabilize users and send them to the ground.
    Most importantly, experts say, familiarize yourself with the shut-off button.