Despite claims that “San Antonio residents can jump for joy” now that Flip’z Trampoline Park is open in Pica Pica Plaza, Crosley Law Firm has seen many serious personal cases arise from similar venues. Our primary office is in San Antonio, and while we certainly hope that Flip’z is earnest in their claim that “safety is top priority” at their establishment, we also want to make sure that jumpers, their parents, and the community are aware of the risks associated with facilities like indoor trampoline parks and inflatable bounce houses.
Undoubtedly, these venues are booming in their popularity. By the end of 2013, there were approximately 160 indoor trampoline parks operating in the United States while just six years prior to that there were only six in the entire country. And the ones that are in operation are meant to serve huge geographic areas. The Flip’z trampoline park, for example, is 25,000 square feet and caters to all of south Texas.
With bigger crowds and increased popularity have also come bigger and more frequent injuries, however. Injury rates for trampoline parks are much higher than many other physical activities, but the numbers can be misleading. For example, injury rates per thousand visits are about the same for jumping (2.9) and skiing (3), but when you go skiing, you spend 5 or more hours on a slope; when you go jumping, you spend about 45 minutes on a trampoline. So for any 5-hour period of visits, the injury rates for jumping are actually much higher – approximately six times higher.
And those injuries are not just minor bumps and bruises. When a similar park opened up in Alabama, local doctors were alarmed at the number of injuries they were seeing and how severe they were – including fractures and knee dislocation. One of the doctors noted that “The injuries I have treated are types you would ordinarily see in a severe motor vehicle accident. These are devastating, limb-threatening injuries.” Recently in the news, a youth football coach in Georgia broke his neck and became paralyzed while jumping into a foam pit at a trampoline park. The simple fact is, there is not a lot of reliable, trustworthy data about the frequency, types, and severity of injuries at trampoline parks, but there is undoubtedly a risk of catastrophic injury at these establishments.
Another thing that many parks are not often very clear or diligent about are the rules for jumping. For example, despite the park being called Flip’z, the rules for jumping clearly state: “DO NOT attempt a double flip” and that you can make “NO more than (2) flips in a row.” The rules about flips are more stringent in other areas of the park: jumpers can do “NO back flips or forward moving back flips” in the foam pit, and “NO flip dunks [are] allowed” on the dunk court. Whether these rules are enforced regularly or even can be enforced when just one person is supervising large numbers of jumpers is a completely different matter.
Many people are also not aware of the fact that trampoline parks are not regulated whatsoever in Texas or nationally. There are no requirements for equipment maintenance or inspections, no requirements for staff training, expertise, or first aid knowledge, and no requirements for insurance coverage.
At Crosley Law Firm, we encourage you to avoid these venues until further, more reasonable regulations are put in place to safeguard against injury. However, if you or someone you know has been injured at a trampoline park or an inflatable bounce house venue, even if you signed a waiver, you should contact one of the qualified, experienced attorneys at Crosley Law Firm to schedule a free consultation so we can review the details of your situation and help you decide what your best course of action is. We have handled numerous trampoline park and inflatable bounce house cases in the past and have even been in the news for our work.
Azok, D. K. (2013, March 1). Local doctors concerned about safety at new Birmingham area trampoline park, cite severe injuries. AL.com. Retrieved from http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/03/post_41.html
Guzman, S. (2015, February 4). Trampoline amusement space opens in South San Antonio’s Pica Pica Plaza. San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2015/02/04/trampoline-amusement-space-opens-in-south-san.html
Visser, S. (2015, February 4). Paralyzed youth football coach in Fulton County files lawsuit. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.ajc.com/news/news/paralyzed-youth-football-coach-in-fulton-county-fi/nj4b4/
WebTegrity. (2015). Flip’z Trampoline Park. Retrieved from http://flipztrampolinepark.com/