Trampoline Park Injuries
Trampoline parks have exploded in popularity over the past several years. A decade ago, there were only a handful throughout the country, but today, there are about 800, and that number is growing.
Though many people enjoy playing in these parks, some adults and children end up suffering from serious and even catastrophic injuries. According to one study, the emergency room visits for trampoline park injuries (TPIs) increased by more than 1,000 percent between 2010 and 2014, from 581 to nearly 7,000.
Though most injuries involve broken bones, particularly broken legs and ankles, some injuries are more severe, involving paralysis and even death. A recent CBS News investigation revealed that over the last seven years, at least six people have died from TPIs, though it’s believed the number may be higher, since many end up signing confidentiality agreements that prevent them from sharing their stories.
Yet these parks are largely unregulated, with limited safeguards and rules that often go unenforced. As lawmakers push for improved oversight, injured consumers turn to the courts to recover damages. Our attorneys are investigating cases in which people went to a trampoline park and then suffered serious injuries and/or death because of inadequate safety measures.
What is a Trampoline Park?
The International Association of Trampoline Parks defines a trampoline park or trampoline court as follows: “An area comprising one or more institutional trampolines or a series of institutional trampolines.” An “institutional trampoline” is a trampoline intended for use in a commercial or institutional facility.
Within the trampoline parks are other types of equipment on which people can play:
- Foam pits: These are pits set near trampolines and filled with impact-absorbing foam cubes. They are designed to cushion jumpers when they jump off the trampolines and into the foam pits, though in some trampoline park lawsuits, plaintiffs injured in these pits have noted that they are often too shallow.
- Airbags: Alternatives to foam pits, airbags offer another impact-absorbing surface on which jumpers can fall after jumping off a trampoline. These are typically intended for landing after performing a jumping trick.
- Dodgeball: Trampoline dodgeball courts are used for playing dodgeball while on the trampolines.
- Basketball: Trampoline basketball courts offer patrons the option of playing basketball while on the trampolines.
These parks normally host tens to hundreds of kids and adults bouncing, performing tricks, flipping into pits, and playing other games. Each park is supposed to adhere to industry technical standards, but that’s not always the case, and even those standards may be lacking when it comes to ensuring public safety.
Injuries Soaring at Trampoline Parks
A number of reports and studies have raised concerns about the increasing injuries occurring at trampoline parks. The 2016 study mentioned above was published in the journal Pediatrics, and indicated a jump from 581 emergency department visits for TPIs in 2010 to nearly 7,000 in 2014. CBS News reports that at least six people have died from those injuries and that the number may be higher.
In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned that between 2000 and 2009, there were 22 deaths related to all trampolines (in homes and in parks), and in 2012 alone, there were about 94,000 hospital emergency room-treated injuries. The injuries were typically caused by the following:
- Landing improperly
- Falling or jumping off the trampoline
- Falling on the trampoline springs or frame
- Colliding with another person
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that while most trampoline injuries still occur at home, trampoline park injuries are increasing with the rising number of parks available. The academy recommends that pediatricians “actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” noting that trampoline injury rates have been increasing: “Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury.”
A 2019 study also suggests that trampoline parks may be more dangerous than home trampolines. Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the study evaluated domestic and commercial trampoline injuries over a two-year period. Results showed that there were 439 trampoline injuries total, with 150 (34 percent) occurring at jump parks versus 289 (66 percent) on home trampolines.
When looking specifically at types of injuries, researchers discovered:
- Fractures and dislocations accounted for 55 percent of jump park injuries, versus 44 percent of home trampoline injuries.
- In adults, fractures and dislocations accounted for 45 percent of jump park injuries, versus 17 percent of home trampoline injuries.
- More lower extremity fractures were seen at jump parks versus home trampolines in both children and adults.
- Adults had a 23 percent surgical rate with jump park injuries versus a 10 percent surgical rate on home trampolines.
The researchers wrote: “Trampoline-related injury distribution included a higher percentage of fractures/dislocations, lower extremity fractures, fractures in adults, and surgical interventions associated with jump parks versus home trampolines.”
Study author Dr. Ryan Voskuil noted that the jump park trampolines have a stronger bounce than home ones, and that parks place obstacles around the trampolines to make the experience more exciting. Park trampolines are also interconnected, which can increase the risk of collisions and “double-bounces.”
Trampoline Parks May Contain Design Flaws Increasing Risk of Injury
An investigation by Boston 25 News suggests that trampoline parks are designed in such a way that they may increase risk of injury. After becoming aware of a number of lawsuits filed against the parks in Massachusetts, investigators reviewed the legal complaints, and found that most of them involved injuries to the legs and feet, specifically, broken thighbones, shinbones, and anklebones.
Many of the plaintiffs stated that they got their legs and feet caught between the mat and the trampoline’s metal frame, indicating a potential design flaw. Since the trampolines are interconnected, jumpers move from one to the next. The idea is to jump from the center of one trampoline to the center of another, but with many people jumping at the same time, it’s not difficult to misjudge a jump, and end up landing on the edge of the trampoline instead.
A safe design would take into account this tendency, but instead, jumpers who miss the center are at risk for landing on the edge and suffering a serious injury. The fact that there are many people jumping at once also increases the risk of one person running into another, or falling on top of another. This can be especially dangerous if the two people vary in size, with one being significantly smaller than the other.
Boston 25 News discovered that over the past seven years, 224 emergency medical calls were made from the five Sky Zone trampoline parks in Massachusetts. Sky Zone has previously settled complaints with plaintiffs, often requiring them to sign confidentiality agreements as part of the settlement deals.
Types of Injuries Associated with Trampoline Parks
Patrons playing at trampoline parks are at risk for the following types of injuries:
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Trampoline Park Lawsuits
A number of plaintiffs who were injured while playing in trampoline parks have already filed trampoline park lawsuits throughout the nation.
A Minnesota man, for example, was jumping with his son at a trampoline park when he flipped into a foam pit and struck the bottom. He landed on his neck and broke it, and ended up paralyzed. He filed a lawsuit against AirMaxx Trampoline Park, arguing that they were grossly negligent, and later reached a settlement with them for $3 million.
The family of a young boy injured in a Fort Worth Flight Deck Trampoline Park recently filed a lawsuit against the park, claiming they were negligent in that they failed to provide adequate supervision of minor children.
The boy was four years old when he was playing on the trampolines with other children. The park rules stated there could be only one jumper on a trampoline at a time, and employees were supposed to blow a whistle when that rule was broken, yet they failed to do so when other jumpers used the same trampoline as the 4-year-old.
Bouncing from the other jumpers caused a recoil effect, and the boy was propelled into the air. When he came back down, he hit his right leg hard, and fractured both his tibia and fibula. He had to undergo several surgeries.
A California highway patrol trooper who was injured at a Fairfield trampoline park also filed a lawsuit after suffering an injury that left him unable to walk. He was playing with his two daughters when he jumped into a foam pit. Emergency paramedics later wheeled him away. He underwent surgery and was partially paralyzed for months. He claims that the park was negligent, and failed to inspect their equipment or show the required safety video before allowing the family to jump.
At the time of this writing, Senator Richard Blumenthal is sponsoring legislation that would hold businesses accountable for trampoline park injuries. Patrons are usually required to sign a waiver containing forced arbitration clauses, thus giving up their right to seek justice in court. The new legislation would prevent companies from being able to include those restrictive clauses.
“Trampoline parks want to avoid justice,” Blumenthal stated. “They want to rig the system against anyone who is injured who may assert claims against them.”
If you or a loved one played at a trampoline park and suffered serious injuries and/or death, you may be eligible to file a trampoline park lawsuit to recover damages. We are investigating these cases, and invites you to call today at 888-480-1123.