Indoor trampoline parks: a word of caution from an ER doctor

Richard Chan | August 25th, 2017

As an emergency physician practicing in Richmond for the past 16 years, I have treated many patients with trampoline related injuries. I applaud VCH for spear heading the campaign “AIR – on the side of caution” to educate the public on the potential dangers of trampolines and providing tips to reduce the risk of injury.

Although many injuries such as sprains and concussions are sustained in neighbourhood backyard trampolines, over the past few years we have seen an increasing number of serious orthopedic injuries from the indoor trampoline parks in Richmond. It’s not surprising given that the mix of adults and kids all jumping together in a crowded indoor facility make for a potentially dangerous environment.

The severity of the injuries

One weekend earlier this summer, three patients were brought to our emergency department by ambulance from one of the local indoor trampoline parks. All had significantly displaced lower leg (tibia/fibula) fractures and all required surgery. Two of those injuries were open meaning that the fractured bones were so deformed that they punctured right through the skin. We used to only see these types of injuries resulting from such significant force in falls from a height or when pedestrians or cyclists are struck by motor vehicles. Now it is not uncommon to see serious extremity fractures and joint dislocations from the indoor trampoline parks.

Exercise caution

I have seen first-hand many patients, both kids and adults, with fractures of the wrist or elbow, fracture/ dislocations of the ankle, plus numerous others with neck, back, and joint sprains. I would emphasize to everyone that serious injuries can and do occur regularly at indoor trampoline parks, and to exercise extreme caution if they choose to visit these facilities. We don’t want you to end up in the emergency department!

Richard K. Chan MD, CCFP(EM)
Department Head, Emergency Medicine
Richmond Hospital

About the Author

Richard Chan
email iconrichard.chan@vch.ca  

MD, CCFP(EM)
Department Head, Emergency Medicine
Richmond General Hospital

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