Researcher: Trampoline Parks “Unpredictable”
For a few years now, the battle over how safe trampoline parks has raged on, with owners of the facilities saying they are concerned with guest safety and ensure their parks are safe to use and those who suffered injuries—or lost loved ones to a trampoline park injury—alleging the parks are a safety nightmare.
Statistics show that as park use increases so have the number of injuries, though the actual number of people harmed in trampoline parks may be much higher than reported because waivers prevent people from speaking out about any park-related injuries.
Now, however, research has come out showing how hazardous trampoline parks are, and highlighting the risks users likely do not even realize they’re taking. The research was released on the heels of a senator accusing trampoline park owners of hiding deaths and injuries behind waivers.
Lawsuits have been filed against some trampoline parks, accusing them of being responsible for injuries to users, though many parks use waivers to force users into mandatory arbitration rather than having the claim heard in court.
Researcher Shows Trampoline Park Injuries Similar to Being Hit with a Hammer
Trampoline parks are indoor facilities with large trampoline-style surfaces that are frequently attached, sometimes with steel bars or cables and chains covered by foam or rubber. The parks may have foam pits that a person can dismount into, and may have basketball, dodgeball or other activities within the trampoline zone.
Dr. Peter Pidcoe is an engineer from Virginia who has studied trampoline parks for the past six years. A biomechanical engineer and university professor, Pidcoe studied the energy transferred between trampolines at parks and found that the various trampoline surfaces essentially amount to one big trampoline, and the strips do not prevent the force created on one trampoline from affecting the others.
Pidcoe called the system “unpredictable” and compared it to stepping onto a step that is not there. The force created by a double bounce can break a child’s femur, an incident that has happened at multiple parks.
Measuring trampolines with an impulse hammer and accelerometers, Pidcoe found that a 220-pound person could transfer 400 pounds of force to a child. Compounding the magnitude of the force is the speed at which the force hits the child.
“It’s like getting hit with a hammer,” Pidcoe told CBS News.
Trauma Surgeon Compares Trampoline Park Injuries to Car Crashes
Meanwhile, Dr. Craig Cook, a trauma surgeon in Utah, has treated approximately 100 people who sustained serious trampoline park injuries, including spinal fractures and head injuries. He compared those injuries with the types he has seen from a high-velocity automobile accident or a victim being thrown from a motorcycle.
Don McPherson, a gymnastics coach, has testified in cases against trampoline parks and says the injuries can be catastrophic. He has seen broken necks, spinal injuries, and open fractures.
McPherson says he and others in the gymnastics community refer to trampoline parks as death parks. Among the hazards are trampolines that are too close to walls, a lack of proper safety padding over the springs, and foam pits that are too shallow.
Additionally, having people of vastly different sizes—from small children to large adults—puts children at risk of a crush injury.
At least six people have died in trampoline park accidents since 2012, and reports indicate 15,000 people have been injured in the past four years.
Conducting its own investigation, NBC found at least 73 911 responses to trampoline parks in a two-year period, in the Bay area, with injuries mainly sustained by children. Those trampoline injuries included broken ankles, neck injuries, and head injuries.
Recently, legislation was introduced that would prevent companies like trampoline parks from forcing consumers into arbitration to settle disputes. That would mean consumers would have more options for settling claims against trampoline park owners than they do if waivers force them into arbitration. It would also mean companies are more likely to be held accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one was harmed in a trampoline park accident you need an attorney with the skills and expertise to hold the park owners and operators accountable for the facilities they provide.
Our highly respected attorneys do not back down from large corporations and are deeply committed to ensuring you and your loved ones obtain justice for the harm done to you. We can help you determine if a trampoline park lawsuit is the best course of action for you and your family, and guide you through the process.
We have a proven track record of success against corporations that put profits ahead of safety. We know how stressful trampoline injuries can be and we are here to help you through the process, getting you the compensation you need to help you recover.