Jason Layt, 28, was attempting a solo bench press at the Genesis gym in Morayfield, Australia when the barbell fell and landed on his neck, pinning Layt to the bench. Layt tried pushing the barbell off to the side and attempted to flip over the bar. He eventually turned onto his side for a total of 17 seconds before another gym-goer noticed and rushed over to help. "I gave up trying to get it off, so I turned to my side. One whole side of my neck went numb. I couldn't stop shaking," Layt told The Courier Mail.
Layt was taken to the hospital and put in a neck brace for five hours, and reportedly suffered no further injuries from the scare. “It pays to have a spotter. You have to have one,” Layt said.
This was reportedly the second local incident of its kind in five days. 15-year-old Ben Shaw was recently killed after a failed bench press. He wasn't discovered until more than 30 minutes after the barbell had fallen onto his neck. He died in the hospital five days later.
Lifting weights has a multitude of benefits: it can help you lose fat, it helps decrease stress, and it can even help protect your heart. But you can't lift if you're hurt, and finding a workout buddy, especially for those big-lift days, is crucial. Not only does a workout buddy keep you safe when things go wrong, they can also help motivate you and challenge you.
If you're itching to hit the bench and forgot your buddy, try this safer alternative that doesn't necessarily require a spotter. But if you're heading into the gym sans swolemate, just ask someone to spot you. They'll be more than happy to help a fellow lifter out. And if you see someone about to try a big lift alone, ask them if they want some help spotting. Chances are, they'll greatly appreciate the offer.