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Health Beat: Trampoline troubles

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: May 20 2013 09:44:04 AM CDT
Updated On: May 20 2013 05:00:06 PM CDT

Trampoline centers are popping up all over the place. Now, the question is whether they're safe. Some say yes; others say no way.

Trampoline centers are popping up all over the place. Now, the question is whether they're safe. Some say yes; others say no way.

A trampoline arena is a huge indoor center covered with bouncy, springy floors.

Josh Zinn took his family to one six times in two months. 

“It’s quickly become our favorite place to come with the kids. They absolutely love it,” Zinn said.

Molly Devine, on the other hand, went there only once with her kids.  

"It was so fun, but..." Devine said before trailing off.

Her son, Luke, fractured his leg at the trampoline arena. Luke’s doing fine today, but not everyone is as lucky.

Dr. Bob Zura, head of orthopedic trauma at Duke University, said one 16-year-old girl broke and dislocated her leg at a trampoline park. 

"She’ll be forever changed from that," Zura said. "From my own personal experience is that I’m seeing a much greater number of fractures in the last two years of my practice than I did in the first seven years that I practiced here, so it seems, in my opinion, to be related to the presence of some of these centers," said Zura.

In fact, an Arizona man died after an accident at one center, and serious injuries have led to lawsuits.

The owner of a trampoline area, however, said they are safe. Out of 120,000 customers, she said they've recorded only 50 injuries, most of which were sprained ankles. She added that rules are clearly posted and employees are stationed around the arena for safety.

Still, Zura said he wants people to know the dangers. 

"I think parents should just be aware that there are risks.  I think they should educate themselves," he explained.

Zinn said he knows the risks, and he’s not worried. 

"No, not at all," he said.

But the other parent, Devine, said she's not going back to a trampoline park.

"I would never put my kids at risk for an hour of fun," she said.

In 2011, statics show there were 3,000 emergency room visits because of these types of trampoline injuries. That’s less than eight percent of the 38,000 kids who went to the ER for snowboarding and skiing injuries during the same time period.

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