Trampoline injuries decrease despite health risks
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 00:10
With the safety features that trampolines have today, including a net and spring coverings, Physics Professor Henry Shipman said he does not think that trampolines are any more dangerous now than in years past.
“As I understand it, their construction hasn’t changed for about 50 years,” Shipman said. “If you are determined to hurt yourself, you can probably find a way.”
On Sept. 24 the American Academy of Pediatrics released results of a study that stated the number of trampoline injuries has decreased since 2004. However, the researchers still cautioned parents about the dangers and stated that 75 percent of trampoline injuries occur when two or more people are jumping at the same time.
According to Shipman, contact forces occur if you run into someone else while jumping and therefore recommends only one person jump on a trampoline at a time.
Physics professor Barry Walker said trampolines are made of large springs that store energy and push the energy back into the jumper’s body. He said two main forces act on the jumper when on a trampoline—the force of gravity pulling down and the spring action pushing back when the jumper lands.
According to Walker, speeds on a trampoline can reach close to 15 miles per hour while jumping. He said if a child were to accidentally fall and land on the ground, they are stopping at zero, which is dangerous.
“You have to use a net,” Walker said. “You can’t jump with other people because then people start having too much fun.”
Shipman said injuries sustained from falling off a trampoline have a more severe impact than other injuries because the jumper is falling faster. However, he said people can survive falling from large distances.
Walker said injuries are sustained from suddenly hitting the ground. He said one factor contributing to such injuries is children attempting to perform tricks and landing on a specific part of the body such as an arm or neck.
“Whether it’s riding a bicycle, jumping on a trampoline, or doing anything that involves velocity and energy, you need to be careful,” Walker said.
Junior Krystal Shortlidge said she once got whiplash from an attempted flip gone wrong on a trampoline.
“I went to my family doctor and took regular prescription Tylenol,” Shortlidge said.
She also said she was in pain for a little over a week.
Professor of kinesiology and applied physiology Thomas Kaminski, an expert in athletic injuries, said he thinks trampolines can be safe for children, but only if the safety netting is in place.
He said minor to severe injuries can occur on a trampoline. Falling the wrong way may lead to a concussion and or spine trauma.
“On trampolines themselves, you can hyper extend your knees, tear your ACL, suffer from a sprained ankle or you can dislocate an elbow or shoulder,” Kaminski said.