New indoor trampoline parks are cropping up all over the U.S. Their increasing popularity is also bringing to light the possibility of potentially catastrophic injuries.
Take for instance twenty-two year-old Stephen Merrill. Stephen was just finishing his freshman year of college two years ago when he and some friends visited an indoor trampoline park in Utah for a day of jumping, flipping, and bouncing.
At one point, Merrill leapt into a pit full of foam blocks from an overhead platform. He sank right through the blocks and landed on his head, breaking a vertebra in his neck. Mr. Merrill was left paralyzed from the neck down.
Citing a list of injuries such as, broken necks, shattered leg bones, and even death, some doctors and government officials say Stephen Merrill’s injury serves to underscore the dangers of jump parks. Government officials are scrambling to regulate the indoor trampoline centers, which have quickly become a popular rain-or-shine suburban entertainment for children and adults.
“It seems like things aren’t properly regulated if something like that is possible,” says Stephen Merrill of his life-altering injury.
Utah and California have proposed regulations to address growing concerns in the burgeoning industry, which has grown from a handful of centers in the Western U.S. in 2007 to about 160 throughout the world.
Typically, the parks are large warehouses filled with a series of trampolines allowing individuals to bounce in all directions, doing gymnastic moves and slam-dunking basketballs. Some parks feature foam block-filled pits and angled, sloping trampolines.
For safety, most gyms post employees around the trampolines to enforce rules, much like lifeguards. Some have posted signs warning visitors of risks of “serious catastrophic injury or death.”
However, emergency room doctors who have seen severe injuries akin to those sustained in high-velocity motor vehicle accidents, say more needs to be done to safeguard against injuries. The injuries, which include dislocated feet, brain hemorrhaging and paralysis, are mostly seen on young men around 19-years old.
In an effort to prevent further serious injuries in the name of fun and exercise, an Arizona woman is promoting a safety bill after her 30-year old son died when he broke his neck at a trampoline park and the Utah County Health Board will hold a public discussion this fall on its proposed regulations.
Operators of the gyms, however, say that safety fears are over-blown and that severe injuries are rare. They claim that organized sports such as baseball and football have a higher injury rate, and that the parks offer children and adults a place to get much-needed exercise while having fun.
Seattle Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are injured in a trampoline accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma, or anywhere in the State of Washington, the personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Firm are here to help. We will do everything we can to ensure that your interests are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation. Contact the experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys at the Phillips Law Firm today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at 1-800-708-6000 today.