Pictures of Sobia Waheed's injury at Fitness First.

Dubai: A Dubai resident suffered second-degree friction burns when she fell on her knees, after being allegedly told by a gym instructor to jump on a running treadmill as a part of a class routine.

British-Pakistani Sobia Waheed, 45, who has been a member at Fitness First, Motor City branch, for four years, was severely hurt during a circuit training class on November 22.

Describing the first aid response as “appalling”, Waheed said she was uncomfortable taking part in the “dangerous routine” and had voiced her concerns to the instructor.

“During the class, the participants had to team up in pairs to take turns on the treadmill. I wanted to slow down or stop the treadmill before getting on or off. However, the instructor strongly insisted that I don’t, even though I kept telling him I was uncomfortable jumping on to a treadmill that was running at high speed,” said Waheed.

Upon the instructor’s insistence, she jumped on the fully running treadmill and fell on her knees.

“The instructor held on to me to prevent me from falling on my face, but he did not pull the emergency cord or push the stop button to stop the treadmill, and it kept running, causing my knees to have second degree burns,” added Waheed.

However, George Flooks, COO Fitness First Middle East, told Gulf News the routine is safe, and is practiced across the world, referring to Waheed’s case as “an isolated incident”.

“On November 22, one of our members who is a regular attendee of our Group Exercise (GX) Class sustained minor injuries during a circuit training session. She was attended to immediately by our qualified first aid practitioners and assisted by our manager on duty,” he said.

Flooks pointed out that in accordance with international standards, the circuit training session was conducted by a level two qualified instructor.

“All trainers at Fitness First are required to repeat each instruction and offer members alternative exercise options in case they encounter any difficulty in keeping up with the routine. In this case all participating members were offered an alternative cardiovascular training option to using the treadmill — either the rowing machine or cross trainer,” he added.

While Waheed denies being offered an alternative option by the instructor, she also claims she was not assisted by a qualified first aid practitioner or approached by the manager on duty.

Her doctor, Dr Rafaat Faris, a surgeon at Prime Medical Centre, said: “She suffered second degree friction burns on her skin, caused by high velocity of friction. She has also had a tetanus shot, painkillers and was on antibiotics for three days. It will take both her knees two to three weeks to heal.”

Waheed said she had to cancel a planned trip to perform Umrah at the weekend following the incident due to her injuries, which resulted in cancellation fees and charges.

Waheed was offered two free months at the gym, along with the option of freezing her membership for one month considering her healing period. However, she has requested a full membership refund as she no longer wants to take classes at the centre.