Reckless trampoline use can cause injuries
Stereotypes and misconceptions about trampolines and trampoline safety are careening out of control, said Ron Crescentini, a gymnastic coach and co-director of a trampoline camp.Trampoline safety comes down to knowledge and responsibility, Crescentini said.For 27 years, Crescentini has hosted the RMI Gymnastics Summer Trampoline Camp. More than 90 kids of all ages spent a week recently at Glenwood Springs’ Sunlight Mountain Resort with Crescentini learning how to be a responsible jumper.Campers start with the basics: Learning how to jump, learning how to stop and learning their limitations.When the camper demonstrates responsibility, they move on to the next phase. Campers learning tricks are trained in harnesses and spotted by qualified instructors.”The best line of defense against injury is to follow the kid’s progression,” Crescentini said.Every year, doctors treat 246,875 trampoline-related injuries, and of those injuries, 186,405 occur in children 14 or younger, according to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons.”Trampolines have a bad reputation for two reasons,” Crescentini said. “One, it’s a sport that deals with younger kids, and two, it’s a statistical problem.” Kids in football and basketball usually don’t go to the emergency room for minor injuries like sprained ankles, Crescentini said. Young kids spend more time on trampolines than older kids, and when a young kid gets hurt, parents are more likely to go to the emergency room, Crescentini said.Trampoline injuries treated in emergency rooms have almost tripled in the past decade, increasing from 37,500 in 1997 to 100,000 in 1999, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.When kids visit the emergency room, circumstances surrounding the injury are not reported which skews information, Crescentini said. Crescentini referred to a former University of Denver gymnast who broke his neck and died while jumping on a trampoline. His death was recorded as a trampoline-related death. However obsolete details hide the fact that the student was doing flips in the dark while he was drunk.After the accident, the University of Denver was sued for $7.2 million, which was enough to oust the gymnastics program, Crescentini said.Found to be 28 percent negligent, the trampoline company was forced out of business, Crescentini said.”How can this be happening?” Crescentini asked. “No one will take the responsibility for their own actions. At the rate we’re going everyone will wear rubber suits and sit in padded rooms and they’ll probably have something wrong with that.” Ron Gilbert, attorney and chairman for the Foundation for Spinal Chord Injury Prevention, Care and Cure has dealt with trampoline safety and litigation in more than 35 states. Gilbert also serves on several safety and regulation committees. Currently, Gilbert is involved in four litigation cases against trampoline manufacturers.Gilbert agrees that statistics can be misleading.”The problem with statistics is that there is no weighting with injuries,” Ron Gilbert, said. “A kid who brakes his arm and has to stay in the hospital overnight is in the same category as a kid who’s in the hospital because he’s a paraplegic.” Although statistics are misleading, trampolines should not be allowed in residential backyards because they are unsafe, Gilbert said.”Homeowners just don’t obey the rules,” Gilbert said. “I don’t know of a single trampoline accident where a person was standing near the tramp acting as a spotter. Even so, to become an educated, intelligent spotter it requires education and training that you can’t expect anyone to do.”==========================================Trampoline tips• Only one person should be on the trampoline at a time.• Directional orientation is extremely important. Put a large X in the middle of the trampoline. If a child jumps more than a foot outside of the X, stop jumping and start in the center of the X. A child outside of the X is too close to the edge. • Learn proper jumping techniques. Many kids circle their arms behind their back to gain momentum. This arches the back and creates back injuries when kids land.• Focus on the frame. Kids get distracted by their surroundings but it’s important to know where the end of the trampoline is at all times.• Buy frame pads for the springs and frame.• Never stand on frames.• For more information visit http://www.fscip.org or call Ron Gilbert at 800-342-0330.==========================================
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