KANSAS CITY– A local erg has been hospitalized with a rare condition known as rhabdomyolysis.
The piece of equipment, purchased by CrossFit Stinge in late 2011, has remained the gym’s only indoor rower for years.
“We have always found a way to make it work,” explained owner Jamie Sellers. “We usually save rowing for team workouts, or we keep the distance to a minimum and stagger the start of each athlete.”
18.1 presented a significant challenge for the affiliate, but by running heats almost continually for three full days, Sellers was able to run 62 athletes through the event. Doctors say it was this volume of work, which they categorize as “extreme,” that leas to the rower’s illness.
“It’s recommended for rowers to be used a few times per week,” said treating physician Dr. Harold Pitts. “But overdoing it can lead to serious injury, and it could be months before this particular rower fully recovers.”
At one point, the Erg asked for lubrication and fresh batteries, a request it claims Sellers denied.
“Nobody cared what it was doing to me,” the Erg explained. “I had a new client every 22 minutes for three days. By Saturday afternoon, I was in a really dark place.”
While some members of the gym raised the question of the rower’s health and safety, witnesses say Sellers shot down their concerns. One sympathetic member described the scene as she found it Monday morning.
“When I came in, the rower just looked different,” She explained. “It looked dead inside.”
When asked for what advice the Erg would give to other pieces of equipment going through similar trials, it shared a strategy for survival.
“I kept waiting for them to stop, but it never happened. You just have to go somewhere else in your mind. I tried to imagine I was on the water, like a real boat.”