What to Know
- Ambulances have been called to 36 tri-state trampoline parks 709 times in the last three years, the I-Team has learned
- Trampoline parkgoers have been hospitalized with everything from rolled ankles to compound fractures
- A study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that from 2010 to 2014, trampoline park injuries increased ten-fold
Broken bones. Rolled ankles. Concussions. Injuries requiring surgery.
These are just some of the injuries that paramedics have seen while responding to increasingly popular trampoline parks around the tri-state. And as the I-Team has learned, those dispatches aren’t all that uncommon: In the span of three years, ambulances were called 709 times to just 36 trampoline park locations throughout the region.
Twelve-year-old Chelsea Zeolla of Avon, Connecticut, was at Flight Trampoline Park in New Britain, when she tried to do a flip, like she’s done countless times, and landed on her arm.
“The pain was like a nine out of 10, right before I went to the hospital,” said Zeolla. “I had to get two pins inserted into my arms because if I didn’t get the hardware, I’d have to be in a cast for almost a year.”
That was in November. In March, she will have another surgery to have the pins removed and will need some time to recover before she can play sports again.
Ralph Park owns Flight Trampoline Park where Chelsea was injured. We showed him some pictures of her injury.
“Of course we don't want to see any injury,” said Park. “But we want to find out how that injury happened and we want to try to prevent injuries from happening.”
At all of Park’s eleven locations, visitors are required to sign waivers and watch a safety video before bouncing on the trampolines.
He added Park that staffers inspect trampolines twice a day and to maintain injury logs, which he shared with the I-team. But there are no laws requiring him to do any of it in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. So far, only six states (Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee) have trampoline safety laws on the books.
When we asked Park if he thought trampoline parks are dangerous, his answer as “yes.”
"The reality is you can break a bone you can have a compound fracture," replied Park.
Despite the waivers, the trampoline parks have inspired at least one lawsuit. Attorney David Chazen has filed suit against three locations of Sky Zone, a different trampoline park popular in the region, on behalf of clients who said they were hurt while bouncing around.
“It’s a free-for-all,” he said.
One boy needed surgery after playing dodge ball at Sky Zone, Chazen said.
“A much larger child stepped on my 9 year old’s right ankle,” explained Chazen. “He stepped on with such force that the bone came through the skin.”
He added, “Sky Zone markets itself as a place where people can fly. Flying is great, it's the landing that's a problem.”
Sky Zone said it also requires parents sign a waiver acknowledging the risks, a company representative told the I-Team.
"At Sky Zone, the safety of our guests is our top priority," the company added in a statement. "We are committed to ongoing evaluations to promote guest safety."
The company continued, "as with any physical activity or sport, there are inherent risks. We take several measures to reduce these risks and educate our guests about safety in our parks. We invest in best-in-class equipment and post important safety rules and guidelines throughout our parks. Additionally, we station court monitors at all trampoline attractions to help enforce those rules and monitor guest activity."
A study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that from 2010 to 2014, trampoline park injuries increased ten-fold. That study concluded that parental supervision is key.
“Never allow multiple users on the same trampoline surface and make sure your kids never do flips or somersaults,” recommended Dr. Steven Rogers of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Both of those things can add to the risk of using a trampoline and can have catastrophic effects.”