Author: Bob Walton, Walton Insurance Agency, Inc. –
Since its invention in the 1930s by Blairstown, Iowa native George Nissen, the trampoline has proven to be one of the more dangerous sports devices ever invented. It has led to countless injuries, ranging from bruises and sprains to broken bones, paralysis and death. So say such august bodies as The American Academy of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic and University Hospitals in Cleveland.
In one particularly bad year, 2009, an estimated 98,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Head and neck trauma accounted for 17 percent of injuries.
Contrary to popular opinion: “Most injuries occur on the bouncy mat of the trampoline, not on the perimeter or by falling off of the trampoline,” says Dr. Michele LaBotz, executive committee member for the council on sports medicine and fitness for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and lead author of their policy statement. This is the reason protective nets and padding have not proven to be highly effective in reducing trampoline injuries.
“We know that trampolines tend to be used in an inappropriate fashion recreationally,” said Dr. Susannah Briskin, pediatric sports medicine specialist . “So using them for stunts puts someone at greater risk.”
Children under age 5 are at the highest risk for injury, especially when there are multiple jumpers. Almost 50 percent of injuries in kids less than 5 years old resulted in fracture or dislocation, not to mention the disastrous consequences of landing on your neck.
“We acknowledge the fact that people are going to continue to use trampolines,” said Briskin. To minimize risk, LaBotz recommends having one jumper at a time and avoiding any stunts and somersaults.
“I just tell parents that not everything that’s fun is safe,” LaBotz said. “People need to think twice before using a trampoline.”