Injuries at Trampoline Parks are Common
Children and teenagers view trampolines only as fun. Many parents view the parks as a good source of exercise and a way to get their little ones “outside and moving.” Many view the parks as a healthy alternative to video games and television. While movement is good, it isn’t the whole story. Tramploine parks are hiding horrible dangers.
To numerous health experts, many amusement parks a grave source of danger. This is especially true when it comes to trampoline parks in particular. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of estimated emergency department visits for serious injuries at trampoline parks increased significantly in the span of four years, from 581 in 2010 to 6,932 in 2014. It’s estimated this number likely only accounts for approximately 10 percent of all trampoline related injuries throughout the nation each year. News reports, studies and the increase in trampoline park lawsuits indicate that the injuries sustained at parks are far more severe than those sustained on backyard trampolines.
Most Common Trampoline Park Injuries
Home trampolines still lead the pack for head injuries, but park trampolines lead the way for lower extremity injuries, dislocation and hospital admissions. More and more emergency rooms are beginning to see an influx in admissions for fractures and spinal cord injuries that are the result trampoline falls, flips and contact with other jumpers. Cervical, spine and skull fractures also make up a minority of serious injuries at trampoline parks. Because of the risks associated with jumping on trampolines, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages children younger than six jumping. That’s right – the pediatric orthopedic surgeons are saying NO JUMPING UNDER SIX. However, because of trampolines’ persistent popularity, trampoline parks continue to remain common spots for children and families.
Though the majority of trampoline park injuries are substantial but not life threatening. Examples include fractures and breaks. However, some jumpers have sustained catastrophic and life-altering injuries. In fact, in 2014, a 30-year-old man died at a trampoline park in Arizona when, according to investigators, he landed wrong in a foam pit. The same source cites another park death, which occurred in Florida when a teen tried to do a flip and landed on his head.
In March of 2017, Dominic Moreno was celebrating his ninth birthday at an indoor trampoline park when he was double bounced by a much bigger and older teenager, causing him to instantly collapse. The employee at the park apparently told Dominic to stand up and “walk it off,” even though the other kid was still jumping in his square. According to Dominic’s mother, the older boys continued jumping, further exacerbating her son’s injuries.
Once admitted to the hospital, Dominic was diagnosed with a broken tibia, two broken growth plates and a completely flipped knee muscle. To recover from these injuries, Dominic was forced to spend the next few months of his life in and out of the hospital, undergoing surgeries and treatments to correct his knee muscles and bones. A metal rod was placed in his leg to hold everything together.
After the incident, Dominic was bed bound for nearly two months. He became used to urinating in a cup and receiving sponge baths from his mother every other day. He was forced to finish the third grade at home, with the help of tutors.
Examples of Lawsuits
Apparently, Dominic’s story is not entirely unusual. According to Texas-based WFAA, a Houston teenager suffered a traumatic brain injury at a trampoline park in 2013. According to the source, there was a tear in the net he was jumping on, and he fell five feet and slammed his head on the concrete beneath. His parents sued on his behalf and obtained a $11.5 million verdict in 2016. Hopefully this is sufficient to pay for the substantial medical care necessary.
In 2015, a 39-year old man was at an AirMaxx with his son when he fell and wound up paralyzed from the neck down. The man apparently jumped into the facility’s foam pit, in which he landed head down, thereby snapping his neck and severing his spinal cord. Despite the fact that the facility had the man sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of jumping, he and his family were able to settle the lawsuit for $3 million.
In 2017, at an Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park in Cordova, Tennessee, a child was given a harness by an employee meant to keep him suspended when he went through the ropes course. However, the employees failed to secure the rope, and the child fell 12 to 15 feet to the ground. When he landed, he sustained serious injuries to his legs. His parents have since filed a lawsuit for $750,000. Damages are meant to cover the parents’ lost wages, as well as the cost of past, present and future medical expenses.
Serious injuries at trampoline parks are becoming increasingly common, as each of the aforementioned stories suggest. Though trampoline parks are undoubtedly fun, parents and adults must question whether or not the risks are worth the short-lived pleasure. Talk to Dominic Moreno’s mother, the 39-year-old who wound up paralyzed or the parents of the young child in Tennessee what they think, and the answer will likely be a resounding no.
American Academy of Pediatrics, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/3/e20161236;