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As trampoline popularity rises, safety risks also increase

Reported by: Jessica Moore
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Updated: 11/07/2012 4:51 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Trampolines are as popular as ever both in backyards and at the relatively new trampoline parks.

In fact, the first indoor trampoline arena was founded here in Las Vegas.

Trampoline popularity is soaring and safety concerns are rising. Doctors nationwide have been urged to issue warnings to their young patients.

Tonight, News 3 has a special investigation into trampoline troubles.

More and more people are on them.

Trampoline parks are springing up all over. The first one, called Sky Zone, was started right here in Las Vegas. Tonight, the founder of Sky Zone answers critics who say his concept is too dangerous for kids.

“Nobody can pass up a trampoline,” said Matthew Britcher, 35, who couldn't resist the trampoline at Sky Zone even though he was there for a business meeting. “It's good wholesome family fun.”

Kids and adults alike are swarming to trampoline parks. It's a trend that concerns many physicians, including Doctor David Stocker at Sunrise Children's Hospital.

“We see a lot of trampoline injuries,” Stocker said.

In 2009 there were 100,000 trampoline injuries reported across the United States.
“it's just not a safe activity,” according to Stocker

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new study. The conclusion was that trampolines are too dangerous for children.

“We primarily see arm injuries along with head injuries,” Stocker said. “You can get bleeding on the brain if you come right down on your head, things that can cause long term problems.”

The images are painful to watch but they're all over the Internet. The other thing you'll find online is criticism against trampoline parks. It doesn't sit well Sky Zone founder Rick Platt.

“I'm not going to say that you can't have an injury, but percentage wise, it's smaller than most any other activity.” Platt said.

“if we didn't have a good clean reputation, we would have been out of business years ago.”

In fact, the study does relate more to backyard trampolines mostly because trampoline parks are a newer trend. On any given day you can catch kids flipping out at sky zone- something doctors say they shouldn't do.

“I would say any flip would not be a good idea because you're adding so much danger and so much risk.”.

But Sky Zone allows it.

“There are some people that are skilled enough to do it and we hate to outlaw it,” said Platt. “We've thought about it but again the percentage of people that were annoyed far outweighs the people that would be hurt.”

Platt tells News 3 he has taken massive strides to create a safe environment at Sky Zone and wants people to focus on the health benefits that his business offers.

“Many experts feel that this could be the magic pill for the obesity field. You cannot get kids to exercise. We can't get them off our playing field. They love it.”

Even big kids like Britcher, who was out of breath in just about ten minutes.



“I am astonished at how much Ii'm sweating.” Britcher says.

Platt says you can burn about 1,000 calories an hour jumping. But again, that's not what concerns doctors.

But a lot of what's being said about their new-found popularity is negative.

Six-year-old Macey Carlovsky loves jumping on her backyard trampoline, but tells us she'll never go back to Sky Zone.

“Because I remember it really hurt and I don't want to break my leg again,” Carlovsky said.

When Carlovsky was 5, she broke her leg during a trampoline party at Sky Zone.

“I slid down the trampoline and my foot kind of got caught on the side and O tried to pull it out-that's how I broke it.”

Ironically, her family has a trampoline in the backyard of their Southern Highlands home.

With clear weather often found in Las Vegas, they'll be on it every afternoon. The difference is the backyard environment. It's smaller and a little bit more regulated than it was there. It is very popular at their house.

And elsewhere, as we found while visiting a local sports store, armed with a hidden camera.

Macey and her three siblings have been using their trampoline for years with little trouble.

“Thank the lord we've never had an injury on it, but it is something that concerns us,” she said.

Especially after Macey broke her leg and ended up with a wheelchair and walker for eight weeks.

“it was kind of hard.because i had to take the elevator everywhere.”

Her mom Paige says adults supervise any backyard jumping and keep too many kids from being on the trampoline at one time. Multiple jumpers and flips are big concerns for doctors.

It's always been a problem. I was never allowed to have a trampoline when i was a kid just because of that because of the problem, risk of injuries,” said Paige Carlovsky.
Paige says she saw evidence of trampoline injuries during repeated visits to macey's orthopedic doctor.

So it was a common thing. Every time we were at the doctor's office someone was hurt at Sky Zone.

Sky Zone opened its first trampoline park here in Las Vegas about eight years ago.
people love trampolines, you can defy gravity and founder Rick Platt defends Sky Zone's safety record.

“And we have strict rules that we follow,” Platt said.

Rules that are supposed to be enforced by court monitors.

Platt doesn't deny that jumpers sometimes get hurt but he argues that statistically it's one of the safer sports.

“Again, we try to take every safety precaution.”

Even so, Macey says she'll stick to her own trampoline, where she feels safe.

“I'm not going back,” she said.

And while Macey not going back... A lot of people are visiting sky zone, as well as other trampoline parks in the valley.

However, thanks to new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, these jumpers might get a warning from their doctors.

Today's backyard trampolines are almost always sold with a net option, but doctors say they don't help that much. They claim it's more how you fall than the risk of falling off the trampoline.

And as we can see on YouTube, a lot of jumpers somehow manage to slip between the net and the trampoline.
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