Yesterday we looked at the possible causes for the deaths of swimmers in Triathlon and other open water competition. Pre-existing cardiac conditions may be one plausible theory. One such pre-existing condition could be “Long QT syndrome.” This is an “inherited defect in heart rhythm that predisposes to syncope without warning (sudden fainting spells), dizziness, palpitations, seizures and sudden death. The name of the syndrome comes from the QT segment in the tracing on the electrocardiogram (ECG). This segment lasts slightly longer in the syndrome than normal. The heart takes longer to recharge itself between beats. Certain conditions can trigger an abnormal cardiac rhythm. Among the known triggers are intense physical exercise, swimming, being suddenly startled or badly frightened.
So, with swimming being a potential “trigger” and caffeine known to cause irregular heart beats (or “ectopic foci”), I looked for deaths associated with energy drink consumption and sport. According to the Sport Journal, when these are reported, they seem to be isolated cases involving multiple servings with high levels of caffeine. For example, according to Rice University over 15 years ago, one study looked at the whether caffeine intake increased the risk of heart Continue reading →
Having discussed the triathlon swimming deaths with USAT CEO Rob Urbach, family of the athletes and read the accounts of these tragedies, there are several facts that perhaps point to a reason for these “unexplained fatalities.” The sport of Triathlon is very safe, as USAT sanctioned races have a number of rules in place to protect the athletes.
Yet this year there have been several deaths during the swimming portion of these multisport events. Several of the athletes were members of a relay team, experienced and fit swimmers, who expired at the beginning of the competition. In the face of the autopsies that did not reveal an outside cause of the racer’s demise, the triathlon world is left to ponder why and how.
Having studied exercise physiology and struggled with issues of medical causation here at the Landau Law Shop, I re-read the coverage concerning death in swimming competitions. We previously wrote about the death of elite swimmer Fran Crippen. News reports indicate that “those who trained with Crippen said he also used GU energy gel a replenishing liquid that contains high amounts of caffeine. The swimmer reportedly consumed 10 to 15 packs during a typical two-hour swim.” This got me to thinking. Perhaps significant pre-exercise caffeine, coupled with stress, anxiety and/or underlying cardio-pulmonary pathology could be the elusive explanation. In tomorrow’s post we will look further into this subject.
Truck vs. Bike – Guess who loses ? The YouTube from the DC biker’s helmetcam (Caution: Profanity) resonates with many of us who have ridden on DC metro area roads, commuted by bicycle and seen inexplicable road rage, distracted driving and other dangerous maneuvers by motorists. The troubling incident was discussed on the Landau Injury Law site.
I do not believe I have ever posted a comment to YouTube, but this video should be “Exhibit A” to those who contend bikers are not endangered by truck drivers or ridden off the road. After reviewing the film with my own bride (and bicycling partner for life) I wrote:
“With cars parked in the left lane, traffic relatively light in the other 2 lanes, I would have ridden a safe, straight line in the same situation. I have seen how devastating the injuries are from being “doored” & many motorists do not pay attention to bicycles riding inches from the curb. So when the biker is forced to go left to get around parked cars, they can get “clipped” by motorists paying more attention to cars on their left and straight ahead. If we want to curb unsafe conduct by people driving trucks, cars & motorcycles, then responsibility must be taken when they unnecessarily endanger others.”
P.S. If this had been a child riding to school & permanently injured, what would we make of the trucker’s cowardice then ?”
Fighting the rolling hills of Fauquier County on their racing bikes, a pair of multisport athletes from Herndon’s Worldgate athletic club were prize winners Sunday. The Warrenton Triathlon is one of the final races in the Virginia Triathlon Series (“VTS”), and it presents a chance for Northern Virginia triathletes to move up in the rankings. Herndon Sport & Health Club masters swimmers Aaron Church and Doug Landau competed in one of the latest additions to the Virginia Triathlon Series Sunday. These two “World Gators” enjoyed the facilities at the state of the art Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (“WARF”).
The race began with a 300 yard “snake” swim inside the aquatic center. The 11 mile bike course was rolling, on Lee Highway in Fauquier County, with a few tough hills in it. The race ends up with a hilly 2 loop 5K run around soccer fields adjacent to the aquatic center, located at 800 Waterloo Road in Warrenton. The finish is an uphill 100 yard dash ! Spectators can follow all of the swim from the WARF balcony and much of the run, which is on the side of a hill. Competitors were able to shower and change afterwards. All competitors, from ages 10-70 received Zorrel technical shirts, great post race food, and as always a great atmosphere to bring the family. Plenty of volunteers and police protection made for a safe bike ride and run course.
As of September 9th Target issued a voluntary recall of about 447,000 units of one of their products. The Embark Resistance Cords were sold between July 2009 and August 2011. It has since been discovered there is a defect in the plastic ball which was used to create a door-hold. The plastic ball’s defect can cause the product to spring free and strike the user in the eye. Sadly, there are been three injuries, two of which have left the users with some permanent vision loss. All user should stop use of the product IMMEDIATELY and contact the company ((800) 440-0680 or Target.com) for information of how to proceed.
After a bike crash, the main focus of the biker’s attention should be getting well. However, medical bills and other expenses add up in serious in jury cases. Many Landau Law Shop clients have health, workers compensation and other insurance coverage for these bills. Under many states’ laws, government and some private insurance plans have the right to be paid back at the end of the case. These “subrogation interests” or “liens” are like “IOUs” on the innocent victim’s case. The good news is that these insurance plans often negotiate a discount on the hospital, doctor, therapy or surgical bills. The not so good news is that they want to be paid out of the injured bicyclist’s gross settlement or verdict. Failure to repay this debt can lead to cessation of any further comp benefits, a lawsuit and/or loss of future insurance coverage and benefits.
At ABRAMS LANDAU, we recently settled the case of a biker who was struck during an Alexandria Virginia training ride. The rider was required to keep fit for Continue reading →
After torrential rains, the 28th Reston Triathlon was a sunny Run-Bike-Run Duathlon. The opening run from South Lakes High School through the trails of Reston, Virginia was conducted using the same heats as the swim waves. The fast 3-lap bicycle portion was longer since bikers were not starting from Lake Audubon. The 10km running course was the same as in the past, with volunteers placing signs, chalk arrows and manning the route.
Volunteering at the Annual Reston Triathlon packet pick up is generally a jolly experience at South Lakes High School. Herndon Virginia bicycle safety lawyer Doug Landau jokes with triathletes about their head protection, especially those that are “fragrant,” “colorful,” “battle scarred” and unique. However, the Landau Law Shop has seen the havoc a bike crash and traumatic brain injury can cause to even elite athletes. Normally, when the Reston Triathlon helmet inspection team tells an athlete that their helmet is unsafe, the participant understands and either gets another one from home or buys a new one. The reasons can be that the helmet: has cracks from prior impacts, is delaminating due to age (or being left in a hot car too long !), or is beyond its useful lifespan.
The Reston Triathlon Association (“RTA”) volunteers are not used to arguments when it comes to racer safety. However, this year a participant fought with Landau and the Race Directors Continue reading →
Due to the torrential rains that have struck Northern Virginia, the dedicated directors of the annual Reston Triathlon have decided to eliminate the swim for only the second time in the popular multisport event’s history. The following was posted on the Reston Triathlon Association‘s web site:
Swim portion of the 28th annual Reston Triathlon has been canceled. Our lake official has been checking the lake since yesterday and has come to the decision that in the interest of safety it is not safe to swim in the lake…there is widespread disappointment but “Safety Is First.”
All racers will be notified by email of the cancellation and of plans for a replacement run as soon as the board has met to determine the details.
Triathlon Trial Lawyer, All American Triathlete and Virginia Triathlon Series (“VTS”) race sponsor Doug Landau adds that racers should also be mindful of debris on the roads when cycling, and perhaps “preview” the course once again since the storms have ended. Tight turns with washout, leaves, bark and other organic matter on the pavement and an early morning start can all contribute to less traction on the road surface. “Let’s all bike safely – the Reston Triathlon race directors cannot sweep every centimeter of the race course, and road flooding requires extra vigilance on the part of all participants.” adds Herndon Reston lawyer Landau. “In light of these changed conditions and as I have at least 2 more VTS competitions this season, I am not going to be putting the ‘pedal to the metal’ Sunday. I encourage all participants to enjoy the race, the shwag and the comraderie and ride safely.”
Spokes Magazine, the Mid-Atlantic’s biker’s best friend, sent a reporter out to interview Herndon Reston area injury lawyer Doug Landau this summer. However, rather than sit on the front port rocking chairs of the “Law Shop” and be interviewed, Landau rode with reporter Brenda Ruby in a Reston Bike Club evening ride. Afterwards, they went for pizza at Ledo’s in Reston’s Hunters Woods Shopping Center, where over a hundred cyclists congregate each Tuesday evening after work.
Then, last week, the “Big Kahuna” himself, Editor & Publisher Neil Sandler came to visit the “Law Shop,” snap some photos, sample some treats from the Herndon Great Harvest Bakery and then see the Reston Bike Club “in action.” The end result, a feature article and photos better than the ones Landau takes and puts in these posts ! Some shots even have the Triathlon Trial Lawyer wearing more than his racing Speedo !