Trampoline parks have increased in numbers worldwide to more than 1,000 by the end of 2017. With this increase in facilities, there has been a comparable increase in emergency room visits and reported trampoline park injuries.
In Canada, 4,247 incidents of trampoline injuries were treated in the emergency departments of 15 hospitals between 2005/2006 and 2009/2010 according to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP).
In the U.S., Dr. Kathryn Kasmire studied U.S. emergency room statistics regarding trampoline park injuries between 2010 to 2014. The figures jumped from 581 injuries in 2010 to 6,932 in 2014. The study found that males injuries were more predominant. Dr. Kasmire also found that injuries resulting from trampoline park use often were lower extremity sprains and fractures and rarely open fractures and spinal cord injuries. The study recommended that flips be restricted and contact between jumpers should be minimized. It was further recommended that improved padding be provided to protect against landing on trampoline frames.
Alberta Health Services reports there were 105 emergency visits related to trampolines in 2015, and these numbers are on the rise. Between 2013 and 2015, there was a 30% increase in trampoline related injuries reported at hospitals. Most of these injuries were fractures related to the foot and ankle, but there were also head injuries.
RECENT CANADIAN TRAMPOLINE ACCIDENTS
In January 2018, Jay Greenwood, a 46 year old Victoria, B.C. father, died after an accident at the Extreme Air Park trampoline park in Richmond B.C.
According to police, Greenwood was injured in the foam pit while “allegedly performing a series of acrobatic manoeuvres”. The fall caused serious injury and cardiac arrest. Witnesses report that Greenwood’s face was blue and his neck appeared broken.
Another incident occurred in April 2017 when 8 year old Chelsea Gilbert of Victoria, B.C. broke her back at a B.C. trampoline park. She is still recovering.
Almost a year ago, Landon Smith (“Smith”), 18 years old at the time of the accident, broke his neck in a foam pit at a trampoline park in Sherwood Park, Alberta, when he performed a front flip into a foam pit. He broke his neck when he hit the concrete floor below the foam and was left a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.
Smith and his parents have filed a lawsuit against Jump Park Trampoline, the foam pit supplier, the foam pit installer, a manager, supervisor and two employees. The lawsuit seeks damages for $17.1 million, including $15.1 million for Smith’s loss of past and future income, past and future care costs, modified accommodation costs and loss of earning capacity. The lawsuit also seeks $400,000 for his pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment for life. Smith’s parents also seek $100,000 each for pain and suffering and $250,000 each for loss of past and future income, loss of earning capacity and competitive advantage, and costs of past and future care.
REGULATING TRAMPOLINE PARKS IN CANADA
In Canada, trampoline parks are not regulated. The majority of trampoline facilities in Canada voluntarily adhere to industry standards that are established in the United States because there are no regulations here in Canada. However, there is no enforcement to ensure the parks meet these same safety standards.
Following Smith’s accident, UCP MLA Wayne Drysdale raised the topic of regulating trampoline parks in the Alberta Legislature. Drysdale is campaigning for trampoline parks to require an operating permit, annual inspections and standards for installation. He is also requesting that these facilities keep records of injuries and require that all staff have mandatory first aid training. Drysdale has met with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to discuss this important matter and he believes that results will follow.
We will continue to monitor developments in the regulation of trampoline parks in Canada and will blog about changes as they become available.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one have been involved in a serious accident at a trampoline facility or have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, please contact the knowledgeable Calgary personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP online or at 403-571-0555. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.