John Glenn’s career-changing slip and fall

The world mourns the loss of pioneering astronaut and former U.S. senator John H. Glenn Jr., who in 1959 became one of America’s first astronauts, one of the “Mercury Seven,” and was the first American to orbit the Earth. Less remembered is the slip-and-fall accident that was a major factor in his early political career, costing him 10 years delay in being elected to the U.S. Senate.

Glenn resigned from NASA on January 16, 1964 and the next day announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Ohio. A little over a month later, on February 26, Glenn suffered a concussion and inner ear injury from a slip and fall against a bathtub. He was unable to campaign, and withdrew from the Senate race. He went on convalescent leave from the Marine Corp until he could make a full recovery. He then entered the business world as an executive for Royal Crown Cola.

In 1974 Glenn did win election to the Senate, and served through January 3, 1999. While a Senator, in 1998 he became the oldest person to fly in space. He died on December 8, 2016.

Glenn flew in World War II and the Korean War and as a test pilot, and flew millions of miles in space. In 1962 he rode in an open car in a parade with President John F. Kennedy, who the following year was shot to death in a similar situation. Ironically, despite the huge risks John Glenn faced in many years of his career, his only significant injury was from his slip and fall accident.

Despite Glenn’s unfortunate accident and its consequences, there are still tens of millions of slippery bathtubs and bathroom floors in the USA. The problem is easily and economically solved with a transparent coating such as SolidStepCote (for domestic tubs and floors) or SparkleTuff™ Anti-Slip (for all types of situations). This will also prevent rugs and mats from slipping on the bathroom floor. However, rugs and mats should also have anti-slip backing for extra safety.

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