Anyone in Denver who is a fan of the television sensation “Dancing with the Stars” may have recently seen professional dancer Karina Smirnoff fall on her jaw. They may not have known, however, that she was rushed to the hospital after it appeared she had dislocated her jaw and sustained whiplash to her neck. Although this may have just been another night in front of the television for Denver viewers, it was a workplace neck injury for Smirnoff.
Had Smirnoff been forced to quit the season or retire because of her injury, there would be no question that she should receive workers’ compensation for her neck injury. Since she did perform the next day, it is not entirely clear whether she could file for benefits, but if she paid for her own medical treatment, she may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Other sources have reported that two classically trained dancers have offered to teach both the professional dancers and the celebrities that appear on the show on how to prevent injuries. The dancers have made it more than 40 years without suffering a dancing injury, so it is clear that they know what they are doing. The staff of “Dancing with the Stars,” however, declined their offer.
It is important that individuals in every field have the proper training and resources to prevent injury. Whether that is in a high-risk industry like construction or something like television, no employee should be at risk for neck injuries, although there are workers’ compensation benefits available for those who do become injured.
Source: People Magazine, “Karina Smirnoff Sent to Hospital for Neck Injury at Dancing with the Stars Rehearsals,” Michele Stueven, May 13, 2013