EB brands has recalled 3 million fitness balls after reports that they can burst unexpectedly if overinflated, in spite of the fact that the defective products specifically say that they are burst-resistant. According to an ABC News report, a total of 47 people have reported that the fitness balls burst since 2000. Some have reported personal injuries such as fractures and multiple bruises as a result of the balls bursting. The recalled brands of exercise balls include Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Valeo and Body Fit Fitness Balls, all made by EB Brands.
The ABC News report gives frightening examples of personal injuries suffered by people as they exercised on these balls. A Seattle woman fractured her sacrum after a Bally Sports ball exploded beneath her. Another Florida woman, who barely weighed 100 pounds, bruised her cheek and jaw.
However, in spite of the recall announcement, the fitness balls will remain on store shelves. There will be no changes in design or manufacture. In fact, there won’t even be any changes to the safety recommendations other than highlighting the safety and usage paragraphs in bolder type. EB Brands’ president says that their products out there are “fine.” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recommended that the company have more “robust warnings and guidelines” for future products to be shipped by EB Brands.
This is altogether disappointing. It is barely a recall. I think the company is just not going about this product recall the right way for the estimated 3 million of these defective products that are out there. There are no refunds offered, no replacement of the product. For customers whose exercise balls have burst, EB Brands is offering free replacements or refunds. In my opinion, the company engaged in deceptive marketing by touting its exercise balls as “burst-resistant” which we now know is not true! In fact, the company has still not decided whether the “burst-resistant” marketing language would be removed from the packaging. This company has not only dragged its feet on a recall, but has done very little to make users of this very popular product aware of the product’s dangers.
Our firm got a call from a police officer who was working out at a gym doing chest presses while “bridging” on the ball. The exercise ball burst as he was doing that and he broke both elbows and hurt his back as he fell to the floor. We’re trying to determine whether the exercise balls used by that gym were made by the manufacturer involving in this product recall. These accidents may not sound like much, but this police officer’s story and other injured victims’ stories show that many have suffered severe personal injuries because of these products and those injuries have had a significant impact on their lives.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these exploding balls, I’d certainly like to hear about it.