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Jumping jolts: beware of trampoline injuries
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Jumping jolts: beware of trampoline injuries

Bouncing on a trampoline looks fun, until it isn’t. With their increasing number in commercial spaces and homes, both children and adults are at the risk of injury

Playing safely on the trampoline

On May 31, 2023, playing on the trampoline during a birthday party at a mall in Bengaluru turned devastating for the 13-year-old Aayush DR. He initially jumped with joy but started screaming in acute pain once he landed on the mat. He had a trampoline injury that even his parents, who were around him, weren’t aware of until he became immovable. While trampoline injuries are becoming common, there is still a lack of awareness among parents, say doctors. They mention the lack of instructions and safety measures in place while using a trampoline.

Speaking to Happiest Health, Rekha DR, the boy’s mother, said she was unaware of trampoline injuries until her son got hurt. No instructors were present in the mall, nor were the dos and don’ts mentioned near the trampoline area. “I was right in front of him when he landed. He could not get up and was in immense pain. He was not doing tricks or somersaults — he was just jumping,” said Rekha. She added that it took more than two hours to fetch a stretcher and ambulance to reach a hospital.

What are trampoline injuries?

Aayush suffered an injury on the end of the thighbone and underwent surgery on June 1, 2023. Dr Noel Naleen Kumar, an orthopedic surgeon specialising in pediatric orthopedics, HOSMAT Hospitals, Bengaluru, who operated on the boy explained that the injury affected the growth lines of the thigh bone in the left leg. These growth lines on either side of a bone are responsible for the growth of the bone. “In this case, the bone above the knee had completely separated from the growth part. The growth of this bone contributes to a person’s height,” said Dr Noel. Doctors say that such injuries can lead to impairment in growth.

Dr Noel explains that 70 per cent of the injuries occur within the metal frame of the trampoline, and 30 per cent of injuries happen outside the frame. “The surrounding net gives you a false sense of protection,” he adds.

How you land on a trampoline determines the kind of injury you get while jumping on it. “If you jump too high, there are chances of landing on the shoulder, hip, head, neck or ankle, which may get twisted. About half the people can get thrown off the trampoline onto the floor,” says Dr Thomas A Chandy, medical director and chief of orthopaedics at HOSMAT Hospitals, Bengaluru. The most common trampoline park injuries are seen on the knee, ankle and shoulder, along with neck sprains.

With easy imports of trampolines, there are various models now in India which don’t take much space. “A jumping child may not land back on the trampoline, or may not land properly on the feet,” says Dr Chandy.

In adults, forearm bone fractures are most common as it is a natural tendency to put your hand down to protect yourself while falling, according to Dr Pritesh Nagar, associate clinical director and head of pediatrics, CARE Hospitals, Hyderabad. “However, in small kids, serious injuries to the rib cage or spine and injuries to the head can happen,” he said.

How do trampoline injuries occur  

“In an ideal situation, there should only be one person on the trampoline to minimise the risk of injuries,” says Dr Noel, explaining that injuries increase manifold when several kids jump at a time and bump into each other, leading to falls. “Either they fall in an awkward position, or they fall into each other, causing and multiplying the effect of the injuries.”

Trampoline jumping is not an exercise

Many presume that jumping on a trampoline is an easy and convenient way to lose weight. In reality, it has no link, says Dr Chandy.

According to Dr Chandy, youngsters can adapt and learn faster as their bodies are more flexible. “Adults get more injuries than children, as they can break legs, arms, sprain the neck or tear a ligament in the knee. However, it looks so easy and appears effortless. They think it’s an easy exercise. But, before they know it, they have fallen.”

Why are trampoline injuries increasing every year  

Dr Chandy observes that trampoline injuries are much more common now, as many people buy home trampolines. “When one kid gets it, all other kids want it. Adults do not mind as they get easy access due to its economical price,” Dr Chandy explains. They are also accessible in gyms and apartments. HOSMAT is now attending to at least three such cases every month, as opposed to just once or twice a year as seen 10 years ago.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 90 per cent of trampoline accidents involve youngsters, most of whom are 5-14 years old. The youngest person with a trampoline injury that Dr Chandy treated was eight.

How to prevent trampoline accidents

How to use a trampoline safely

Dr Ratna Maheshwari, pediatric orthopedist, Maheshwari Orthopedic Hospital, Jamnagar, Gujarat, says that kids under the age of six should not be allowed to use a trampoline as they do not have the understanding to safeguard themselves from injuries.

“Older children can get injured as they try doing somersaults like backflips while jumping,” she adds.

It’s crucial to ensure that the trampoline surface has good padding and is not close to ground level. “The closer the trampoline surface is to the ground level, the higher one bounces, thus increasing the risk of injuries,” says Dr Maheshwari.

“Trampolines at home should be an absolute no-no. Commercial spaces with trampolines should ensure regular equipment and safety checks to prevent trampoline accidents in kids,” advises Dr Nagar.

Takeaways

  • Trampoline injuries in kids are on the rise due to their easy access in commercial spaces and even homes. Injuries can occur when people get thrown out of the trampoline as well.
  • Trampoline accidents mostly result in injuries to the knee, ankle, shoulder and neck. The chance of injury increases when multiple kids jump together. Strict supervision, safety and equipment checks should be mandated while jumping on a trampoline.

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