Bowling Deaths Double

This is an earlier draft of an essay that appears in my collection of essays which you should, of course, own right? Why? Well, let me tell you why you should buy the Raised by Turtles book.

Bowling pins being scattered by ball

Rise of extreme bowling blamed by industry

Consumer protection advocates have released a study today showing that bowling-related deaths have seen a 100 percent increase through the first half of 2006 compared to the same period last year.

From January 1, 2005 until June 30, 2005, combined data from the International Bowling Federation (IBF), the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), the American Council of Surgeons (ACS) and Manny Kowalski from Beloit Lanes in Beloit, Wisconsin (Manny) record two bowling deaths whose primary cause was bowling or bowling equipment. The figure does not include deaths due to natural causes while bowling, deaths due to fights while bowling, or deaths due to bowling equipment in the home.

Over the same period this year, there were four bowling deaths due to bowling or bowling equipment, a 100% increase in just one year.

IBF president Jim Karlin assured the public that bowling is as safe for the average person this year as it was last year. According to Mr. Karlin,

The rise in bowling deaths can be attributed to a small group of individuals engaging in the relatively new and largely unregulated sport of extreme bowling. The risks associated with extreme bowling are much higher than what we see with traditional bowling, but this in no way affects the safety of the average family down at their local lanes.

Jim Karlin, International Bowling Federation

Karlin went on to say that the 2005 deaths at Beloit Lanes, a traditional bowling venue, were caused when Manny accidentally turned the power back on while Chris Withers, 32, and Vikram Rashana, 19, were cleaning the pin setting equipment, tragically crushing the victims.

This year, however, only one of the deaths took place in a traditional lane. “Of this year’s four deaths,” Karlin specified, “two took place in the half-pipe at an extreme bowling alley, one during jet bowling at an unregulated extreme bowling facility and only a single death that took place in a traditional bowling alley. So in that sense, we have seen a 50% decrease in deaths at traditional bowling alleys.”

Karlin admitted that it may be time to look into regulating extreme bowling facilities, but that remains outside the purview of his organization as few extreme bowling alleys are IBF members. He underscored the fact that there is no reason to believe that this year’s rise in fatalities indicates that bowling at large has become unsafe and said he still bowls with his family two or three times a week. “As with any sport,” he added, “one should nevertheless always take appropriate safety measures.”

Critics charge that the industry response has not gone far enough. A spokesman for the Citizen’s Ad Hoc Committee for Bowling Safety (CAHCBS) refuted Karlin’s contentions. “The bowling industry has swept this under the rug for long enough because they don’t want to spend the money to make the lanes safe,” said Terry Withers, brother of last year’s victim Chris Withers. “It’s time that the industry stepped up to the plate with motion-controlled power cutoffs in the pin setting machines, with hand guards on the ball returns, and bowling shoes with anti-bacterial linings. If they are unwilling to do so, we will have to take this to our state and federal legislators and impose a legislative solution, and nobody really wants that.”

Mr. Withers said that according to CAHCBS calculations if deaths continue to double every year, in 12 years deaths due to bowling and bowling equipment will outnumber deaths on our nation’s highways. “It may not seem like much, but at the current rate, we’re on pace for eight deaths this year, 16 next year, 32 the year after that and 32,768 deaths twelve years from now. That should worry every parent, every consumer, every bowler” Withers said.

12 Responses to “Bowling Deaths Double”

  1. I am surprised that the author of the bowling article didn’t also discuss deaths caused from picking wildflowers on Wednesdays after seven pm. Those deaths certainly rival the bowling deaths in numbers. Statistics project a death toll of 320,000 by the year 2015. Obviously legislation is needed to control death by wildflower. As to bowling, deaths due to failure to observe existing federal OSHA regulations in the servicing of equipment are not “bowling deaths” but rather ” stupidity deaths ” unrelated to bowling. All things considered, I am going bowling but I want to go pick some wildflowers first. I love living dangerously.

  2. I live for extreme bowling. The thrill of knives during game play is exciting. Death only enhances this. Long live satanic bowling!!!

  3. Well, it’s been 12 years. The bowlpocalypse rolls on. The fast lane lifestyle has claimed well over 2,500 American lives in just the first few months of 2018. The stench of blood and fear now overpowers the stale menthol smoke and Lysol. Dead bodies line the gutters.

    Federal action came too late. The Three Strikes policy failed to keep this turkey of a problem in check. All regulatory attempts to split these back alley activities have failed, and strikes by ball enforcement have failed to knock down the league kingpins. Marauding bands of corpulent dads still hold a reign of terror over Beloit, ensuring the carnage continues.

    Many Americans don’t believe it’s even appropriate for the government to regulate bowling, but I think it’s foolish to think the leagues will spare us from such violence of their own volition. No matter how you spin it, society has failed to keep this problem from stepping over the line. Now, it seems our only hope is thoughts and prayers.

  4. Manny, thank you for keeping this crucial issue alive. We saw absolutely no action on this during the failed Obama administration. The fake news media have covered it up. It is time to make bowling great again. Thank you for your support. You’re amazing and wonderful.

  5. Zachary Martell

    This is all true, I was just murdered by a bowling pin the other day

  6. 15 years on, the death toll for this year is expected to reach approximately 262,144. The number just keeps on growing and is starting to become noticeable. I’ve already had 2 of my family members killed by bowling balls. God help us…

  7. Dear Ryan, I am sorry to read about the tragic toll this has taken on your family. Here we sit in 2021 and all the world wants to talk about is Covid and climate change while the Bowling Carnage continues unabated with no strong federal action on the horizon. My deepest condolences in your time of sorrow.

    I hate to pry into what I’m sure is a raw and sensitive topic, but were they killed in traditional lanes or in extreme bowling venues or elsewhere?

    [BTW – mostly of course I’m making fun of the way journalists misuse stats all the time and seem to not understand even the basics, but someone at my college was actually hit by a bowling ball that fell out of an apartment window as he was going by and was severely harmed (like killed or left in a total coma)… so I don’t mean disrespect to people actually harmed because, bizarrely, it does happen]

  8. Joelb

    I ended up here looking for statistics out of curiosity as just Last night the owner of one of our our local bowling alleys died by pin-setter, and I was curious as to how often such incidents occur.

  9. Spencer Smith

    I came looking from some serious information on how common death (or maybe even serious injury) is caused by pinsetters. I the alley I work the ones we have are excellent, they were designed and built so well they are 55-60 years old.This is a good thing. They are interesting to work on, the only computer is not on the machine and the only one is used for detecting when a ball is thrown and scoring. So for me it can actually be fun to work on, yes it often sucks and can be very frustrating, some of the parts aren’t even made anymore, still overall I enjoy that work. Anyways, one bad thing is, it’s about 60 years old. I’m concerned the head mechanic and the others there are not doing enough to make sure everything is still good. I make sure to do all preventive care, but it’s old. Needs a checkup. The electrical wires are older and they’re hanging down and it’s starting to get in the way. Many of them have exposed wires that have been covered up with electrical tape some of it so all of the tape is starting to fall off. I am constantly finding new spots to have to tape up and that’s just the wires that we can see if anyone injures himself or dies at my bowling alley most likely it’ll be due to that electric problem unless they do something stupid like don’t turn off the machine and someone else turns it on while they’re working on it or don’t shut it off. It’s the machine went into a blackout while being used, clear, the pin jam, then get hurt when it turns it’s back on because you forgot to switch it off.
    Sure there’s some danger when you’re around all those moving parts and belts. I make sure I have nothing to loose that can get snagged.
    I’m curious how many deaths/injuries are actually caused by faulty equipment and how many are actually human error.
    If I’m electrocuted again and this time I die, that’s faulty equipment (assuming like before I just brush by an exposed wire and not anything like grabbing a wire before turning power of to it)
    Even then, there’s indirect human error. I can clearly see the electrical problems and it has been evident for some time. Clearly there needs to be an electrician come in check everything out and rewire

  10. Spencer Smith

    This article was written 3 years ago. Already deaths are worse than this article predicted with 51 deaths and and 197 injuries. This is obviously a serious problem but no one is taking seriously. When these problems arise in our society, the authorities and the people stick their head in the screen- I mean sand, ignore and deny it until the problem becomes so huge it’s impossible to ignore then wham the problem does much more damage and is either harder or impossible to solve anymore.
    Well I say not anymore! We will spread the word. We will wake people up and we will take on this awful scourge of bowling danger! Who is with me??

    *no one responds right away, sends this message all over various social media, then starts scrolling while waiting, forgets then goes and plays Call of Duty*

  11. Spencer Warren Smith

    Tom Lambert, you are the author correct? I really needed a laugh, thanks.
    in 12 years… lmao
    People use stats and data, then present it however it fits their opinion/agenda.

    Also if you are moderating what I comment, no need to post this, this is my 3rd comment
    Also I wrote a very long one first. Bad habit.please delete/ don’t post. Thank you

  12. Hi Spencer – sorry, I’ve just been… what’s the word? Busy? No, that’s not it. Lazy! Yes, I’ve just been lazy. And sometimes don’t get comment notifications. Cool stories though. I’ve always wondered about those machines. My dad was actually a pinsetter as young boy before the age of mechanization. When he was 10 years old (1939), they had him setting pins until midnight if you can believe it.

    You said you didn’t want me to post the long first comment. But I love it. Do you still want me to delete it? And I’m glad this gave you a laugh. The way journalists use statistics drives me nuts, so this was meant to be a humorous way to highlight that.

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