Motivational speaker Tony Robbins could have much to answer for after more than 30 people were badly injured during a firewalk event held Thursday night. Tony Robbins was giving one of his self-help seminars in Dallas, Texas, when he had several of his followers attempt to walk over hot coals. Of the more than 30 people that were hurt attempting this feat, reports indicate at least five people had to be hospitalized overnight at the very least.
CBS reports Dallas police used a DART bus as kind of staging area for Tony Robbins supporters who were injured but didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.
“Apparently, as part of a motivational event being held at the location, several people attempted to walk across hot coals. As a result, a large number of these people sustained burn injuries to their feet and lower extremities.”
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said at the site of the Tony Robbins event. It appears that the massive response by Dallas police was in part because someone who saw what was going on at the Robbins seminar was afraid more people had been injured than actually were. At the same time, with numbers going over 40, it appears there were plenty of Robbins’ followers who were indeed hurt when they attempted to walk over the hot coals.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the firewalk event is the first part of a three-day seminar being given by Robbins in Dallas this week. Once the event started getting headlines for the number of people who were supposedly injured, Robbins International issued a statement attempting to handwave away the large number of injuries.
“In Dallas tonight, someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns. While we are grateful to the quick and robust response from Dallas emergency services, only 5 of 7,000 participants requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site. We are pleased to have completed another successful fire walk for 7,000 guests and look forward to the remainder of an outstanding weekend with them.”
The statement said. Robbins has long had this kind of event as part of a seminar that is titled “Unleash the Power Within.” The walking across these hot coals are apparently supposed to be part of Robbins’ followers setting aside their fears and truly believing in their abilities. This is hardly the first time something like this has happened during a firewalk event hosted by Robbins. One of these kinds of events back in 2012 saw more than 20 people hurt. This most recent event appears to be one that has seen more Robbins followers hurt than there usually are.
— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) June 24, 2016
Because firewalking is a skill that is learned and practiced by experts, there are usually at least a few people suffering burns when they attempt to show that they are not afraid of the fire and the hot coals. The coals, on the other hand, don’t really care whether the people walking over them feel fear. Even if someone is brave enough to walk down a path that is lined with hot materials, the heat from those materials is going to cause damage. It’s not clear where Robbins tells these people they will be safe from the injuries or that the injuries are part of their growth.
It appears most of the nearly 40 people who were hurt had minor burns and blistering, though there were clearly some who had more severe burns on their feet and lower legs. Tony Robbins did address the injuries, and the police response personally.
[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW]