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Work injuries on popular reality show raises safety concerns

Every week, thousands of people across the nation tune-in to watch the ABC Network's long running hit "Dancing with the Stars." While it's very easy to be caught up in the drama of the performances and the backstage intrigue, fans might not realize that the show has actually seen a very long list of serious work injuries among cast members over the past sixteen seasons.

To illustrate, consider this short list of celebrities who have suffered injuries during rehearsals or performances:

  • Singer Jewel suffered fractured tibia in both legs
  • Computer icon Steve Wozniak pulled his hamstring and fractured his foot
  • Reality TV star Melissa Rycroft suffered a herniated disc and rib fracture
  • Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill suffered a spinal condition

These injuries aren't just confined to the celebrity performers either, as several of the professional dancers charged with whipping their partners into dancing shape have also suffered debilitating work injuries. Just this season, dancer Mark Ballas was forced out of the competition after suffering a severe back injury -- compressed discs -- during an otherwise routine lift.

Interestingly, various sources have reported that producers on DWTS were approached by a pair of classically trained dancers prior to the start of this season who offered to teach the show’s professional dancers and incoming celebrity class some basic injury prevention techniques.

The dancers, Dame Nadya and Sir Golden Koscuik, have perfected their own training technique they have dubbed the “Vaganova Method,” which they say has resulted in over four decades of injury-free dancing.

“I have danced for over 47 years as a professional with no injuries due to the great training I received from the Kirov Ballet,” said Dame Nadya. “To make sure no one who dances gets injured, we have been teaching this technique for 35 years with great success, and those we taught this technique to have never been injured.”

While producers were receptive to bringing the Los Angeles-based couple in to teach their methods, the idea was eventually voted down by the DWTS dancing professionals who felt it unnecessary.

For now, the debate will continue as to whether the show needs to provide better dance or personal fitness training to keep dancers safe from injury. Opponents of this idea point out that many of the celebrities come to the show out of shape and that injuries among the professionals are still relatively rare.

Stay tuned for further discussion on work injury prevention or developments in the area of workers’ compensation defense law …

Source: Fox News, “Source: ‘Dancing with the Stars’ pros reject offer to help prevent on-set injuries,” Hollie McKay, May 14, 2013

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