A Breitbart News investigation of the home exercise accident story told by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and “sources familiar with the incident” has uncovered facts which appear to discredit his version of events surrounding a New Year’s Day incident that left him with gruesome injuries to his eye, face and ribs.
On January 22, three weeks after the incident, Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill this version of how he obtained those injuries:
I know there are a lot of rumors as to what happened, but that’s very simple. My wife and I were in our new home. I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and, uh, one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye.
It didn’t knock me out but it sure hurt. And, uh, I was taken to the hospital, and, uhm, we came back here after a couple of days. I have some bones broken around my eye.
“Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door,” Politico reported that same day.
Resistance bands, or “exercise bands” as “sources familiar with the incident” described them to Politico, or “rubber bands” as Reid referred to them, are inexpensive exercise devices that consist of a length of cord made of stretchable material, usually some form of rubber or latex, that sell for between $10 and $40.
From the moment the story broke, many have been highly skeptical of Reid’s claim his injuries came from a home exercise accident. Most of this skepticism–based mostly on speculation and the gruesome nature of the injuries—led some to offer a version of an alternate theory that somebody beat up Senator Reid.
“It’s pretty obvious from the photographs that somebody beat the bejesus out of the soon-to-be former senator from Nevada. And yet the national media has uncritically swallowed the cover story that ‘exercise equipment’ was to blame for the loss of sight in the former majority leader’s right eye. Baloney,” Michael Walsh wrote at PJ Media.
On Friday, Rush Limbaugh expressed his own skepticism about Reid’s accident story:
By the way, does anybody believe that Harry Reid really had an accident with his exercise machine?
Does anybody really believe that’s why Harry Reid is still bruised and is still wearing dark glasses, what, months after this accident with his exercise machine?
I don’t believe for a minute that whatever happened to Harry Reid has anything to do with an exercise machine unless somebody repeatedly threw him intoit. Harry Reid looks like and is acting like — and now with this announcement, behaving like — somebody who may have been beaten up. Nobody… I’ve never seen anybody have an accident with an exercise machine that ends up suffering symptoms much like Harry Reid’s for as long as Harry Reid has.
A Breitbart News investigation of Reid’s home exercise accident has uncovered facts that appear to discredit Reid’s version of the home exercise accident for three very specific reasons:
1. The shower door in his master bathroom, as well as two of the other three sides of the shower itself, consists of a glass panel that extends from floor to ceiling and is not sturdy enough to be used as the anchor for an exercise band.
2. The distance from the shower door to the cabinets in the bathroom is at best a mere 3 feet, an insufficient width to conduct the type of resistance band exercises Reid says he was performing when one of the bands broke and he hit his head on the cabinet.
3. Even if Reid had attempted to conduct his exercises in this very narrow 3 feet passage, the force of the exercise would not have been sufficient to “spin him around” and crash him into the cabinets of the master bathroom, as he claims.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Reid and his wife moved into their newly purchased “Cantata Model” home in the Anthem Country Club gated community of Henderson, Nevada, in the summer of 2014.
Breitbart News has confirmed through publicly available documents at the Clark County Assessor’s Office and publicly available documents from the real estate agent who handled the transaction that Senator Reid and his wife purchased a 3,571 square foot house built on the Cantata model floor plan in the Anthem Country Club gated community in Henderson, Nevada for $769,000 on July 11, 2014.
Breitbart News has obtained a copyrighted digital image of the Cantata model floor plan of the sort used to construct the house Senator Reid and his wife purchased in July, as well as copyrighted photographs taken of the house’s interior and exterior that were used as part of the sales promotion for that residence. Breitbart News has requested permission from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), which has copyrighted the images, to display them in this story, but has not yet received a response. Given the importance of this story, Breitbart News has included these images in this article, as a matter of public interest.
(Readers can perform their own searches and obtain video tours of Anthem Country Club houses currently for sale, several of which are built on the Cantata model floor plan, here.)
The images show that the claim that “Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door,” is not credible, for these three very specific reasons.
First, the shower in Senator Reid’s master bathroom is enclosed by the wall to which the shower head is attached, and three clear glass panels that stretch from floor to ceiling, one on the left, one in front, and one on the right, where the door of the shower is located.
These glass panels, while apparently sturdy enough to keep water on the inside of the shower, do not appear sturdy enough to support the weight of an exercise band attached to the shower door.
Indeed, a resistance band attached to Senator Reid’s glass shower door would appear to run the risk of shattering the glass door if the sort of pressure typically applied in any of a number of exercise band routines were applied.
“The door anchor has to be attached on the hinge side of the door. Harry Reid’s shower door is not an actual door, it’s merely a structure of glass. There couldn’t be a riskier place to attach it. Industry standards advocate using a solid triple hinged door with a locking mechanism,” Darrin Crowder, who has trained with resistance bands for years and is featured in The Art of Manliness online magazine YouTube video on resistance band training, tells Breitbart News.
“I have a glass enclosed shower in my house, and I would rip the whole thing down if I used it to anchor my resistance band. The entire structure would probably collapse if I were to torque on it with a resistance band,” Crowder says.
Second, the distance from the handle of the glass shower door to the edge of the bathroom cabinets that extend several feet on either side of the door appears to be 3 feet in width at best.
That distance is simply insufficient to conduct resistance band exercises. Resistance bands have very little, if any, tension at a distance of 3 feet.
“Usually, when I use resistances bands anchored in a door, I stand about at least 5 to 6 feet away from the anchor door. That’s where tension begins,” Crowder tells Breitbart News.
You can see a demonstration of Crowder standing 5 to 6 feet away from the anchor door at the 1:40 mark in this The Art of Manliness resistance band training YouTube video.
Other resistance band training experts offer the same distance requirement assessment as Crowder.
This 2013 YouTube video from FitFarm, for instance, also shows the proper use of resistance bands anchored to a door places the user much further back—from the looks of it, a good 6 feet from the anchor door.
The website of Black Mountain Products, which describes itself as “the premiere manufacturer of resistance bands” tells a similar story about distance.
As can be seen in this series of photographs demonstrating the proper use of resistance bands in various exercises, the distance from a resistance band anchored in a door (never a glass shower door in these photos) to the total distance a person conducting the exercise appears to be at least 4 to 5 feet in most cases.
Third, even if Reid had attempted to conduct his exercises in this very narrow 3 feet passage, the force would not have been sufficient to “spin him around” and crash him into the cabinets of the master bathroom, as he claimed.
“Resistance band cables are generally 6 feet in length. As you double them through an attachment, they would extend 3 feet, so there would be no tension on them at the 3 foot point. It would be a flaccid rope. They would have to be stretched much further to create the tension needed to perform an exercise,” Crowder tells Breitbart News.
Resistance bands can break and cause damage to the user, but that damage is usually limited to the part of the face or body hit by the end of the band. As the website cultureofsafety.com reports, breakage “can cause the end of the band to snap back toward the user violently and potentially inflict serious damage.”
That damage, however, appears to be primarily caused by the end of the band hitting the user’s face, not from the “spinning around” of the user.
Reid did not claim that the damage to his eye came from the end of the resistance band, but instead from hitting the cabinets after the breakage of the band caused him to spin around.
The scale of Reid’s injuries—a damaged, perhaps destroyed, right eye, a broken bone above the left eye, a battered right jaw sporting a large black and blue and purple bruise, and several broken ribs—were far beyond the scale of any injuries that could arise from merely having the end of a resistance band snap back.
Breitbart News is also investigating the timeline of events for Senator Reid’s treatment after the incident, as set forward by Reid and his associates, and will release another breaking report on what that investigation has unveiled later today.