The Tait McKenzie Center gym is one of the busiest places at York University (YU). Even in the early mornings, students find themselves waiting for equipment. Some students have been demanding upgrades to the fitness center to meet the needs of the school population – especially as some equipment is old and rusted, including the dumbbells.
Now, it seems York has no more excuses.
Recently, a student-athlete, Buck Daniels, contracted tetanus from using infected equipment at the facility. Tetanus is a disease that produces a deadly toxic bacterium that attacks the central nervous system. Open spores, broken skin, or puncture wounds that come into direct contact with infected objects are typical causes of tetanus. The culprit? – Daniels believes it’s from the rusty dumbbells in the Tait McKenzie Center.
Daniels is in the thirteenth year of his undergraduate philosophy degree program at York. Buck holds the honour of being the leader and only member of the poker club at the university. He has participated in several tournaments on behalf of YU, including those organized by Woodbine Casino, Fallsview Casino, and Casino Rama.
“People often say I shouldn’t qualify as an athlete,” says Daniels. “But, I am. Poker is a sport. It requires hard work like anything else. My palms get sweaty, ya know?”
Because the gym is very busy in the morning, Daniels said he had to use the rusty dumbbells, as all the clean ones were taken.“I thought, ‘nobody is using these ones for a reason’, but I had to get my workout in,” says Daniels. “I had to get to Vegas for a tournament — I couldn’t wait around all day to get the good ones.”
From shuffling a deck of cards the previous night, Buck got a paper cut on the tip of his finger. The wound opened while he was using the dumbbells. After developing symptoms such as diarrhea and excessive farting, the student-athlete was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, he was unable to represent YU at the Vegas poker tournament.
As his symptoms worsened, Daniels claims he had to wait for a week in the hospital emergency room. “The line was so long, and I had to wait around,” he says. “My tax dollars at work!”
However, he kept busy while waiting for medical attention, depending on UberEats and his poker skills.
“At least UberEats was around, I got me some great meals,” states Daniels. “I started a little poker tournament with the folks waiting around — some of them couldn’t finish. Poor Randy.”
YU has yet to offer any monetary compensation to Daniels, their poker student-athlete, for the harm he experienced due to the faulty equipment at the Tait McKenzie Center. In an exclusive interview, a representative from York University named Ellsworth McToohy, provided some comments on the university’s approach.
“We take Mr.Daniels’s concerns very seriously. For now, we are putting warning signs around the dumbbells. Additionally, we are bringing an investigative team of fifty lawyers and doctors from York University’s Bureau of Public Relations Management of Student Success and Satisfaction (BPRMSSS) to determine if Buck’s illness came from the rusty dumbbells,” says McToohy.
Students, professors, and some administrators are protesting against the university’s mistreatment of Daniels. An online movement to strike against the institution is growing. If matters escalate, this could result in exam cancellations in April, alongside a possible termination of summer term courses. In wake of these events, Daniels has received over 500,000 signatures in Canada and globally, for his online petition to replace the dumbbells at Tait McKenzie.
In the same interview, McToohy provided additional comments about the situation. “York does not have enough money to replace the equipment until 2025. York is using the underground tunnels to build a brand new waterpark. According to the polls conducted by the York University Bureau of Public Relations Management of Student Success and Satisfaction, a new underground waterpark would increase enrollment by 30 per cent!”
The projected costs of the proposed water park are estimated anywhere between $400-500 million dollars. In the later part of our interview with Ellsworth McToothy, he urges “students to get tetanus shots, or to stay up-to-date with their boosters because of the possible risks associated with certain equipment.”
Daniels plans to sue York University for over $2 million in damages. “It’s time to get my money back from them,” states Daniels. “I’ve got so much student debt, so it might be a good thing after all. I might be dying, but I at least won’t be broke — maybe I can triple it at the casino.”