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Long on physicians’ radar: trampoline injury concerns

“Can we keep it, dad?”

That recent query from the children of an orthopedic surgeon concerning a background trampoline featured at a home the family just purchased was met by a resounding and nonnegotiable response.

“Forget it,” said Dr. Greg Lervick.

The doctor’s judgment-laden answer might not be firmly echoed in the general public across Indiana and other states, but other heads in the medical community virtually nod in unison when they hear it.

The bottom line: Health care providers – especially surgeons and emergency room doctors – do not like the commercial trampolines that are central attractions in millions of Americans’ backyards.

And they point to sobering empirical evidence to back their informed judgments.

Like this, for instance: an estimated 90,000 emergency room visits annually in the United States from parents bringing in children suffering from highly varied and sometimes catastrophic trampoline-linked injuries.

And this: the front-and-center observations of the legions of doctors across the country who deal with those injuries in an immediate way.

“I’ve seen fractures, sprains, concussions, ligament damage, kids with neck and spinal cord injuries,” says one MD and pediatrics professor.

“The risk outweighs the benefits, the joy isn’t big enough,” states another. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, who works with the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that while she and her peers understand the instant lure of a trampoline for a child, the benefit of removing it from the yard is simply “a no-brainer.”

The AAP has been recommending that for years, with its initial warning coming back in 1977. It has periodically issued progressively stronger proclamations over ensuing years.

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