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Jeff Rossen fire-walks on hot coals live on TODAY

Why were some people injured at a fire walk at a Tony Robbins event when others weren't? Live on TODAY, Jeff Rossen ventures onto hot coals.
/ Source: TODAY

Less than two weeks ago, dozens of people were evaluated for burns after walking over hot coals at a Tony Robbins event in Dallas. Why were they injured when so many others at the same event were not?

TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went to Ithaca, New York, where he worked with and to prepare for a fire-walking demonstration. Live on TODAY, he ventured onto the hot coals.

Experts say it's about transforming your life and conquering your fears. But some doctors say walking on hot coals is really about something else.

"Mental preparation will not help you get across more safely," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It's pure physics; it's not mind over matter."

The charcoal is hot: 1,000 degrees. But the coals are covered with a thin layer of ash that's cooler than what's burning below, and that's what your foot touches.

"You want to step lightly, but walk briskly," Glatter explained. "When you run, you actually have more contact with your feet on the hot coals, and then you could risk having a burn." Experts say that if you're planning to do a fire walk, make sure medical personnel are on site at the event.

To suggest a topic for an upcoming investigation, visit the Rossen Reports Facebook page.