Anyway, it would be a shame if trainers aren't allowed in the water anymore.
Maybe I missed this, but this wasn't in front of guests was it? I think not. Actually I really hope not!
With that said: I believe the media is overreacting, based on the tone of the NBC article and the fact that it actually made national news. I also believe Sea World handled it perfectly by stopping water work for now.
First, it seems to me like the media is making a huge deal out of a routine risk. Considering the mass of a typical orca vs. the mass of a typical human, even a slight nudge would be enough to knock said human off balance. Elementary physics.
Back when Marine World/Africa USA was still around, in Belmont, one of the trainers managed to get their nose broken when Yaka (one of the orcas) misjudged a high jump. The media got hold of the story, but it barely rated a sidebar on page six, despite the fact that it was a more serious injury than just getting bumped.
I can only conclude that the media's breathless coverage of this little hiccup is because it happened at Sea World. The fact that the whale was undergoing AI (a common procedure with Sea World orcas these days) at the time is merely incidental, though I'm sure the media will hype that particular bit to the max, just for the "shock" effect.
If it had happened at any other oceanarium, one that doesn't depend on a business model of trying to sell Nature as a packaged commodity, I doubt we'd have heard about it at all.
As for the water work: If Sea World says that it has now stopped putting trainers in the water for whale shows, then yes, they have indeed stopped. I've known their corporate training director for many years, and if he says 'OK, we're stopping water work for now' then it will be stopped. Period.
I don't see that as a bad thing, not when trainer safety is involved.
The same thing happened years ago, at San Diego, after another trainer was much more seriously injured (broken pelvis, etc.) after being squeezed between two whales during a show. He recovered, but he left the marine mammal field after doing so.
Waterwork was stopped then as well, but it was a temporary thing. Whether this will be temporary remains to be seen, but I will say that trainer safety when working with animals this big and powerful has to come first in all things, especially over show production values.
Keep the peace(es).
If you look back at past incidents of trainer/animal mishaps at Sea World, I recall that they all got broad and sensationalistic coverage. In other words, they've ALL been "breathless" in one way or another.
If you can point me to similar news items from ANY other oceanarium that is NOT connected with Sea World in any way, stories that also got national and "breathless" coverage, then I will cheerfully admit I was mistaken and STFU.