You’ve probably seen them, if not gone in and experienced one for yourself. Trampoline parks; essentially warehouse-sized rooms of multiple trampolines connected together, are becoming more popular as venues for everything from a child’s birthday party to corporate team building exercises. However, as the popularity of the gyms has increased, experts warn that the risks for “catastrophic injuries” are increasing as well.
If you’ve ever jumped on a trampoline as a child, you know that if you’re on your own, you’re free to bounce at your own rate and to your own height. Put another person on the trampoline with you, however, and the stage is set for the dreaded “double bounce.” As you come down onto the trampoline, it is already on its way up and catapulting someone else into the air. What should have been a soft reception for you followed by a dip and another bounce is now not unlike two cars just before a head on collision as the two opposing forces converge.
This, combined with the potential for collisions both in the air and on the trampoline’s surface, have people looking for more regulation of this new source of exercise and entertainment. “They’re moving at speeds and with energy that when they hit or get hit by somebody else that’s twice their weight, they end up with crush injuries,” says a gymnastics coach recently interviewed by CBS News.
The same source reports that ER visits from trampoline park injuries has increased dramatically. In 2013, 2,500 people were seen as a result of injuries sustained during a visit to a park. By 2017, that number was 18,000.
The injuries have caused some to call for regulation of the industry, and the industry has taken notice. In a statement issued to CBS News in response to its story on the matter, the International Association of Trampoline Parks said that “there are parks that do not adhere to industry technical standards, and do not operate with safety at the forefront of their agendas. The group has launched an initiative to require third-party inspections to ensure the safest experience possible.”