After Hours

Jogging while wearing an iPod can be an electrifying experience


Jogging, lighting, and iPods don't mixI'm not a jogger, but even if I was, I wouldn't jog in a thunderstorm. I don't have an iPod, but even if I did, I wouldn't listen to it while jogging in the middle of a thunderstorm. Unfortunately for one fellow, he did just that, and the consequences were severe. Check out the story from News.com: "Burned jogger shows lightning, headphones don't mix."

Here are some of the details:

Doctors at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada said a 37-year-old jogger wearing an iPod was burned on his chest, neck, and face after the man and a nearby tree were struck by lightning in 2005. The burns traced the path of the earphones, they said.

The patient's eardrums were ruptured and the tiny bones in his middle ears were dislocated.... The man's jawbone broke in four places and both jaw joints were dislocated, probably because the electric current made his jaw muscles contract violently.... The metal in the earphones helped channel the current and cause the injuries.... Two years later, more than half the patient's hearing is gone and he cannot hear high frequency sounds, even with hearing aids.

Of course, this wasn't the fault of the iPod, because any headset could have channeled the current. According to the Canadian doctors, "The combination of sweat and metal earphones directed the current to, and through, the patient's head."

Is it the fault of the lightning? According to the National Weather Service, "A person's odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 5,000. About 10 percent of those who are struck die."

Personally, I think it's the exercise part of the equation that will kill 'ya. I'll stick to my poptarts and leave jogging in a thunderstorm while wearing an iPod to the real risk takers.

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Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the several blogs.

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