Large trampolines can be found in the backyards of thousands of homes across the country—primarily in suburban areas. Straddling the line between sports equipment and toys, trampolines promise bouncy fun for children and adults alike, but they are not without their risks. In fact, a study from several years ago estimated that backyard trampoline accidents send more than 100,000 people to the emergency room every year.
Over the last few years, trampolines have headed inside, as indoor trampoline parks have become wildly popular. Franchise chains such as Launch, Sky Zone, Big Air, and Rebounderz have opened hundreds of locations nationwide and around the world. As their popularity grows, however, so does the danger of injury, and medical experts indicate that the number of trampoline park injuries has exploded by more than 1,000 percent in just a few short years.
Serious Injuries Abound
Dr. Steven Rogers of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, along with several of his colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics, conducted a study regarding trampoline-related injuries. Their research found that there were about 580 ER visits for trampoline park injuries in 2010. By 2014, that number had increased to nearly 7,000! Many of the injuries were fractures, including compound fractures of the ankle and leg. It is not uncommon for a jumper to land awkwardly on the trampoline surface or, worse, another jumper. Dr. Rogers says that multiple jumpers on the same trampoline surface are to blame for a large number of these injuries. He also says jumpers should avoid “flips and somersaults,” but such tricks are a major part of the appeal for many jumpers.
Park Owners Acknowledge Dangers
In virtually any trampoline park, jumpers are required to sign a waiver and, often, to watch a safety video before they can use the equipment. Parks also employ individuals to act as safety monitors, but trampoline park owners are aware that injuries can and will happen. “The reality is you can break a bone,” said one owner, who along with his partners owns ten parks including several in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area. A representative from Sky Zone said, “As with any physical activity or sport, there are inherent risks.”
Perhaps the most troubling element of trampoline parks is that there are very few regulations and requirements on the books. Only six states—the nearest is Pennsylvania—have laws that address trampoline safety. A trade group called the International Association of Trampoline Parks exists, but it has no regulatory control. Park franchise and owners are on their own when it comes to creating rules and inspecting equipment.
There are currently several lawsuits pending against trampoline parks that seek to challenge the validity of the waivers signed by jumpers. The outcome of such cases will likely have a dramatic effect on the future of trampoline parks.
Call Us for Help
Many people believe that once they sign any type of waiver, they have no recourse to seek compensation if they sustain an injury. In reality, however, waivers are not always as airtight as they seem. If you have been injured after signing a waiver of liability, contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney for a free consultation and case evaluation. We will review the circumstances of your injury and help you determine the best course of action. Call Woolf Law Firm, LLC at 860-290-8690 today.