Bowling Deaths Double

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.

7 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]

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