Streams

Triathlon Nightmare

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

In the wake of two deaths in NYC's Nautica Triathlon this weekend, Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery, 28-time marathon runner, nine-time Ironman finisher, and medical columnist for Triathlete Magazine, speaks about the intensity of triathlons and the injuries that can be sustained in competition.

Guests:

Jordan Metzl

Comments [13]

Marilynn Pierre from New York, NY

Based on my two years of participating in the NYC Tri in 2009 and 2010, I recommend that more lifeguards and kayaks. In addition, I triathletes participating in the NYC Tri should be required to have swam at least 1 mile as is required to participate in some NYC Swim events. During my swim in the Hudson this year, I witnessed many swimmers in trouble in the water. At one point, it got so crazy that I had to swim with my head above water and tread water while on my stomach to avoid running into the lifeguards, kyacks, and lifeguard boats. In fact, a lifeguard boat got me. Many swimmers called out for assistance and had to wait a bit for it to arrive. One swimmer flipped over a kayak. I myself had trouble breathing and had to hold onto a kyack to catch my breath. As soon as I took my first breath after having jumped into the Hudson, I realized I had flem in my chest and found it difficult to breath. I believe I caught a cold while waiting a couple of hours in the rain for the swim to start due to an accident on the Westside Highway, where the bike portion of the Tri was to take place. Thanks to my great training from Terrier Tri and the CIBBOWS, having swam in the Hudson twice before, and God, I made it out of the water and finished the Tri. Next year, I hope to participate again.The lifeguards, people in the kayaks, and all other volunteers and employees at the NYC Tri were great. I just think a little more in the swim portion would be even better.

Sep. 07 2011 12:17 PM
Brian from Hoboken

Mary-
I agree with your opinion about back country skiing, hiking, mountain climbing etc and think that reckless people should re- pay rescue costs. However, these competitions charge entry fees, which along with sponsorship dollars covers the cost of having EMTs on the scene, cost of NYPD to close and monitor street closings, etc.

For every person that dies in an event like this, probably a thousand sedentary fat people die of heart disease or diabetes complications.

Aug. 09 2011 11:15 AM

How far, in terms of time and/or distance did these "athletes" get in the triathlon this weekend?
How certain are we that they didn't wake up to the last day of the rest of their lives regardless of whether they the went for a casual stroll or participated in this race?
How many day laborers died suddenly on the same day?
Talk about the self-indulgence of the upper classes (and their fawning media sycophants)

Aug. 09 2011 11:12 AM
Solomon Kershaw from Upper West Side

This mornings show on Triathlon running potential problems revealed the host, subbing for Brian, constantly mispronouncing the name of the contest "Tri-ath-A-lon". There is no "A" before the last sylable.
Does she also say "New-kew-lar" for nuclear?
Kindly advise her.

Aug. 09 2011 11:09 AM
Mary from staten island

Jonathan Metzl is correct that the risk of dying in a car accident is greater than dying as a result of exerting oneself in a triathlon. However, driving in most parts of this country, unfortunately, is a necessity, except for in those areas with good public transportation. Participating in a triathlon is not. A commenter above states that it's his choice and he makes his own decisions, and I agree with that. However, it is little like avid mountain climbers who find themselves stranded as a result of an injury or storm. They prize the right of an individual to participate in high risk sports, but then must depend upon outsiders to extricate them from danger, usually at the expense of the public. Okay, this is probably not a good analogy, as triathloners do not require legions of helicopters and mountain rescue teams to come to their aid; but they do require emergency support in these public events, and teams of EMT's, police, and medical personnel to attend to them when their individual risk-taking ends up in disaster.

Aug. 09 2011 11:06 AM
Mary from staten island

Jonathan Metzl is correct that the risk of dying in a car accident is greater than dying as a result of exerting oneself in a triathlon. However, driving in most parts of this country, unfortunately, is a necessity, except for in those areas with good public transportation. Participating in a triathlon is not. A commenter above states that it's his choice and he makes his own decisions, and I agree with that. However, it is little like avid mountain climbers who find themselves stranded as a result of an injury or storm. They prize the right of an individual to participate in high risk sports, but then must depend upon outsiders to extricate them from danger, usually at the expense of the public. Okay, this is probably not a good analogy, as triathloners do not require legions of helicopters and mountain rescue teams to come to their aid; but they do require emergency support in these public events, and teams of EMT's, police, and medical personnel to attend to them when their individual risk-taking ends up in disaster.

Aug. 09 2011 11:04 AM
The Truth from Becky

Yaawwwn...common sense convo

Aug. 09 2011 10:55 AM
hannah

I'm so tired of my sedentary friends criticizing my endurance sports. Sedentary lifestyle is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, suicide, and a general apathy toward life. If everyone in this country trained properly for a marathon, I guarantee our average life expectancy would go up a decade, crime and suicide would go down, and we'd all be much much happier.

Aug. 09 2011 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Was this event during the heat wave or on a low-air-quality day? Are warnings issued to participants under such conditions? Should events even be postponed in some cases?

We hear about the deaths, but how many people have less severe effects, like nonfatal heart attacks or angina?

Aug. 09 2011 10:52 AM
anonyme

Yes this is interesting - my sister's a physiatrist too and you sound like her - but kitties aren't mice - they don't need treadmills and they tend to stay in fab shape -

Aug. 09 2011 10:52 AM
Rose from Norwalk

Although not a tri, I did a century + about a month ago in 98 deg heat, full sun with over 6,000 ft of climbing. These details, especially the amount of climbing, were not fully disclosed as part of this event. Needless to say it was a real struggle to complete this event. No one died however, I did get heat exhaustion. I think that organizing an event at this time of year without fully disclosing the severity of the course was extremely irresponsible. As more and more 'regular' people engage in these extreme endurance sports, it's important that people become aware of the dangers so they can react responsibly.

Aug. 09 2011 10:49 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Let's see the overreaction to this event. When you sign up for an event like this you know exactly what you are in for. I have run plenty of races in extreme temps 13 degrees to 90 degrees in the last year alone) but it is my choice. Also, with a tri, one has to remember that if something goes wrong on the swim, the consequences are much greater than a run (drowning and longer to get to hospital are possibles outcomes). This is a non-story.

Aug. 09 2011 10:21 AM
Mark

Two fatalities in one event yet no one is talking about banning endurance sports... meanwhile MMA is still banned in New York despite it's safe track record.

Aug. 09 2011 09:52 AM

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