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Trampoline Troubles

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DURHAM, N.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - They're popping up all over the place. Providing kids and adults wall-to-wall entertainment, but is the trampoline arena trend resulting in simple fun or serious fractures?

Trampoline arenas are huge indoor centers covered with bouncy floors. Josh Zinn took his family six times in two months to an arena.

"It's quickly become our favorite place to come with the kids. They absolutely love it," Josh Zinn, a Trampoline Arena Patron, told Ivanhoe.

Molly Devine took her kids once to a trampoline arena, but her son Luke fractured his leg.

"It was sort of like, bendy," Luke told Ivanhoe.

"They were just concerned it was close to the growth plate. His legs could have grown at different rates," Molly Devine told Ivanhoe.

Luke's doing fine today, but not everyone is as lucky. Duke University Orthopedic Surgeon Bob Zura said he had a 16-year-old patient who broke and dislocated her leg at a trampoline park.

"She'll be forever changed from that. From my own personal experience is that I'm seeing a much greater number of fractures in the last two years of my practice than I did in the first seven years of my practice here, so it seems, in my opinion, to be related to the presence of some of these centers," Orthopedic Surgeon Bob Zura, told Ivanhoe.

Right after performing surgery on the teenage girl, Dr. Zura said, "I called my wife and, at that point, we decided from a personal standpoint, we're no longer going to those centers with our children."

An Arizona man died after an accident at one and serious injuries have led to lawsuits against trampoline parks across the U.S., but owners said they're safe. Off camera, the owner of one trampoline arena said in eight months she's had 120,000 customers and only about 50 recorded injuries. She said most were sprained ankles. She added rules are clearly posted and employees are stationed around the arena for safety.

In 2011, there were 3,000 E.R. visits because of trampoline injuries at arenas and fitness centers combined. That's less than eight percent of the 38,000 kids, 19 and under, who went to the E.R. for snowboarding and skiing injuries. Still the doctor says…

"I take my kids skiing and I don't take them there," said Dr. Zura.

He said he wants people to know the arenas may not be as safe as they seem.

"I think parents should just be aware that there are risks. I think they should educate themselves," Dr. Zura was quoted as saying.

Josh said he knows the risks and he's not worried.

"No, not at all, not at all," Josh Zinn said.

But Molly is not taking her kids back to a trampoline arena.

"I would never put my kids at risk for an hour of fun," Molly Devine said.

Just last month an independent organization released voluntary safety standards for trampoline arenas that include guidelines for design, manufacturing, maintenance, and inspections. Officials tell us if they're found to be ineffective the Consumer Product Safety Commission can put mandatory standards in place that trampoline park owners across the country would have to abide by.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: Using a trampoline is promoted as fun, but the growing popularity of trampolines among 8-year-olds to adults is resulting in a dramatic increase in serious injuries - including broken necks, spinal cord injuries, and disabling head traumas, many of which result in permanent paralysis as well as death. In addition, trampolines are responsible for many less serious injuries such as broken bones, including legs, arms, and other parts of the body, as well as different types of dislocations and muscle damage. (SOURCE:http://www.fscip.org/tramp.html)

 AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS (AAP): The risk of injury is so high with trampolines that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that they should never be used at home or in outdoor playgrounds The AAP found that some injuries -- including broken bones and bruising -- were caused by kids trying to do flips or falling on the frame or off the trampoline. The policy statement also reports that:

  • Smaller children are 14 times more likely to get hurt than bigger children.
  • About 75% of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people are jumping on the mat.
  • Twenty percent of trampoline injuries were caused by hitting the frame or the springs. Researchers say trampoline pads deteriorate quickly, putting children at risk of hurting themselves on the frames and springs.
  • Netting around the trampoline did not protect kids from injury. 

The AAP supports limited use of trampolines in supervised training programs, such as gymnastics and diving classes. But even then, strict safety guidelines must be followed. (SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trampoline-exercise;http://children.webmd.com/news)

SAFETY RULES: For the risk takers who still would like to indulge here are some safety rules:

  • Use safety nets and pads. Install a trampoline enclosure — a special net designed to surround the trampoline — and cover the trampoline's springs, hooks and frame with shock-absorbing pads. Regularly check the equipment for tears and detachments.
  • Place the trampoline on level ground. Make sure it's a safe distance from trees and other structures. Better yet, place the trampoline in a pit so the jumping surface is at ground level.
  • Limit trampoline activity. Allow only one person to use the trampoline at a time — and never without supervision.
  • Discourage unsupervised jumping. Don't install a trampoline ladder, which could tempt young children to use the trampoline alone.

 (SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trampoline-exercise)

ADVICE FOR PARENTS: The AAP says that trampoline parks may not follow the same rules and recommendations suggested by the AAP, and that trampolines used for instructional sports need appropriate supervision and safety measures. The AAP also suggests homeowners with trampolines should check that their insurance policies cover trampoline injury-related claims. (SOURCE: http://children.webmd.com/news)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Sarah Avery
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Duke Medicine News & Communications
919-660-1306 office

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