Dual jumpers leads to trampoline injuries

For P.M. Release
Saturday, March 21, 1998
Poster Exhibit C 24

Dual jumpers leads to trampoline injuries NEW ORLEANS - Jumping up and down on a trampoline might not be all fun and games for some children. Orthopaedic surgeons at Arkansas Children's Hospital found more than 4 percent (31 patients) of the 720 patients seen in its hospital emergency room for orthopaedic injuries over a five-year period were injured on trampolines. A poster exhibit, displayed on Saturday at the 65th annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, found 14 patients' injuries involved the lower leg bone. The patients' ages in the study ranged from 18 months to 9 years old. This type of injury typically occurs when several children are using the trampoline and not jumping in unison, said study co-author Rosalind White, RN, division of pediatric orthopaedics, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, Ark. "As one child impacts the mat, the other child is in the air," she explained. When the downwardly moving child impacts the upwardly moving mat, the force causes the lower leg to break, said study co-author R. Dale Blasier, MD, division of pediatric orthopaedics, Arkansas Children's Hospital. Most of the children seen in the emergency room presented with a minimally displaced fracture of the lower leg. The children were placed in a cast and healing occurred within three weeks. "By recognizing how the injury happens, we may be able to help prevent them," White said. "We also have developed some trampoline safety tips that orthopaedic surgeons can discuss with their patients." To help make trampoline use safer, Dr. Blasier and White suggest following the guidelines developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in its Position Statement "Trampolines and Trampoline Safety":

  • Only one participant should use the trampoline at any time.
  • Have an adult spotter; they always should be present whenparticipants are jumping.
  • Make sure the trampoline frame and mat are in good condition.
  • The trampoline's supporting bars, strings and surrounding landing surfaces should have adequate protective padding.
  • Somersaults or other high risk maneuvers should be avoided without proper supervision and instruction; these maneuvers should be done only with proper use of protective equipment.
  • The trampoline jumping surface should be placed at ground level.
  • Use a trampoline in well-lighted areas.

In 1996, 83,312 persons were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to trampolines, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The orthopaedic researchers found that the CPSC recorded 19,000 persons with trampoline injuries in 1976. "These numbers further enforce the need to educate youth about the dangers of trampoline use," White said. An orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and nonsurgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. The 17,000-member American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons, allied health professionals, and the public and is an advocate for improved patient care. The Academy's annual meeting is being held March 19-23, 1998 at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans.