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Dancing - and straining muscles and joints - with the stars

Picture a work environment featuring strained muscles and joints., frequent injuries and a professional culture resistant to safety improvement.

A description this generic could refer to many workplaces in Maryland and across the country. And with injuries so frequent, the availability of workers' compensation would be an important consideration.

But there is one such workplace that is far from typical. That is the set of the popular television series "Dancing with the Stars" (DWTS).

Injuries have become all too common on the uncommonly popular show. This week, one of the professional dancers was hospitalized after falling and landing on her jaw. Last year, another professoinal suffered two compressed discs in his back trying to lift his partner during a dance performance.

According to media accounts, two veteran dancers who are known for their ability to avoid injuries appraoched DWTS about training the professional dancers on injury prevention techniques. The veteran dancers had become concerned about injuries not only to the celebrities on the show, but to the professional dancers themselves.

But the consensus of the professionals was apparently to resist the safety training offer. This decision came despite numerous injuries on the show, especially as the dancers try increasingly demanding moves. These injuries have included a disc hernation on the spine and a separated shoulder.

To be sure, a few injuries here and there would be expected in a setting in which people are testing their physical limits. But the common theme among many of the injuries may be simply overwork of muscles and joints.

As DWTS continues its run, couples keep trying to raise the bar on cutting-edge choreography. That means not only more challenging moves, but more time needed to practice them. And this puts a strain on muscles and joints, putting them at increased risk of worklplace injuries.

Source: "Source: 'Dancing with the Stars' pros reject offer to help prevent on-set injuries," Fox News, Hollie McKay, 5-14-13

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