Millions in Profits– But No Inspections or Oversight
Over the last decade, indoor trampoline parks have grown into a flourishing industry. Franchises like Urban Air, Sky Zone, and Rockin’ Jump now boast thousands of locations across the county and make millions in annual revenue by marketing themselves as safe, family-friendly places for fun. Even Covid-19 era protocols restricting the capacity for indoor venues don’t seem to have hampered the industry’s expansion – global profits are estimated to reach $3.9 billion by 2026.
But despite their popularity, trampoline parks in most U.S. regions are unregulated – meaning they are not legally required to follow standardized safety guidelines, undergo inspections, or carry liability insurance. Instead, the industry sets its own voluntary safety directives through a trade association.
But this self-governing safety strategy doesn’t seem to be protecting patrons. A recent investigation by journalists with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reveals that in the North Texas region alone, hundreds of people have been injured at trampoline parks unbound by government-sanctioned safety protocols.
Broken Legs, Head Trauma, and Spine Damage
Not only are Texas trampoline parks untethered by safety mandates – but they also aren’t required to report customer injuries or deaths that occur on the premises. And this “wild West” operational style isn’t unique. Only 11 U.S. states have laws compelling trampoline parks to submit to inspections, report injuries, or maintain liability insurance.
Since there is currently no system to directly track Texas trampoline park injuries, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained an injury tally for its investigation by reviewing public ambulance call records. The data showed that nearly 500 injuries occurred at 21 trampoline parks in the North Texas area over the past several years.
While the manner and severity of these injuries varied, a pattern of bone breaks, concussions, and spinal cord contusions emerged. In one instance, a three year snapped their ankle. Another incident involved a four-year-old with acute growth plate fractures requiring regular treatment with a specialist. Adult injuries like knee blowouts and torn ligaments were a common occurrence.
Doctors consider such traumatic injuries consistent with trampoline park accidents that arise when patrons collide while jumping, jump too high, or fall off the equipment. Occasionally, these episodes prove fatal. For example, in 2012, a 30-year-old man sustained multiple neck fractures and died after attempting a backflip at a trampoline park in Arizona. The state instituted trampoline park regulations a few years later due to aggressive advocation from the victim’s family.
Challenges for Victims Who Want to Hold Trampoline Parks Accountable
When contacted by the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram for his reaction to the investigation, state representative Chris Turner pledged to raise the topic of trampoline park safety mandates at the next legislative session. However, it remains to be seen if and when Texas will ever implement safety sanctions for its trampoline park industry.
Meanwhile, trampoline park accident victims in Texas and other unregulated states often face hurdles in holding the facilities accountable for their injuries. Parks that aren’t required to carry liability insurance will typically claim they don’t have funding to pay out lawsuit damages. And injured patrons who signed waivers upon entering a trampoline park may feel they have no legal recourse for an injury inside the premises.
But depending on the jurisdiction, the type of injury, and how the accident occurred, it may be possible to recover financial damages for a trampoline park injury – even in scenarios with a signed waiver. That’s why it’s imperative to consult a skilled and experienced trampoline park injury attorney if you or a loved one have been hurt at one of these facilities. They can review your potential case and advise if you are entitled to compensation.