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I would like to know the specifics of how this happened! Bench, grip, program, spotting position etc. There was originally a lot of talk of suicide / false grip after initial reports suggested it fell on his chest. This article states his “neck” and he also had at least one spotter. It should also be noted Thomson was a decorated athlete, not a beginner and that just over a year ago, a similar incident almost killed USC running back Stafon Johnson. I assume he (Thomson) has just gone to complete muscle failure and the bar wasn’t caught in time. I’m trying to find another article, from memory an NFL player died in a very similar incident a couple of years ago (Perhaps an American friend can shed some light)
Take away for me is try to get THREE spotters when maxing out your lifts. (2 side, 1 above/behind) My students will know how much emphasis I put on the importance of proper spotting, even failed a prac’s for incorrect and unsafe spotting. NOTE for spotters: Communicate! Have a head spotter and work off their calls! And lifters who claim the bar was taken too early: better one second too early then one second too late. You are not competing for world titles in your local Globo Gym.
Also, try ensure you bench in a rack that has horizontal pins / safety bars and set them just below your arch (so when you’re relaxed / no longer arching the pins are above your body). This way if you do fail, the bar will never land on any part of you (your throat will also be lower than your chest, which will be lower than the pins) BUT you can still touch your chest above the pins! (It wasn’t a rep if the bar didn’t touch your chest!)
Train hard, train heavy, but do it safely!
Thoughts and condolences with Thomson’s family and friends. RIP.
Original News article: Des Moines Man Killed in Weight Lifting Accident