Concerns grow over the lack of regulations at trampoline parks - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Concerns grow over the lack of regulations at trampoline parks

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Indoor trampoline parks can be a lot of fun, but they can also create a world of hurt if something goes wrong. Indoor trampoline parks can be a lot of fun, but they can also create a world of hurt if something goes wrong.
The WMC Action News 5 investigators uncovered dozens of emergency calls to a local trampoline park. The WMC Action News 5 investigators uncovered dozens of emergency calls to a local trampoline park.
She ended up with a cast, a brace, crutches, and months of physical therapy. She ended up with a cast, a brace, crutches, and months of physical therapy.
"It was a very well made trampoline, and I wasn't ready for that," said Gari. "It was a very well made trampoline, and I wasn't ready for that," said Gari.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - There's no denying indoor trampoline parks are a popular choice for birthdays, exercise, field trips, and dodge ball games. But there's also no denying the growing number of injuries sustained at those parks and the growing concern over the lack of regulations to keep you safe.

Two years ago 911 took these calls:

Caller: "We have a young man who apparently fell down and injured his back for all intents and purposes is not moving right now."

Dispatcher: "'What's the name of the business?'

Caller: "Skyzone Memphis."

Thirty-two calls were made. The first was a fire alarm, and the rest were asthma attacks, knock outs, seizures, ankle, back, thumb, and arm injuries. Even a dislocated knee and multiple broken legs were reported.

"She is 28, female. I believe her last name is Reynolds," a caller told 911.

"I jumped onto the first trampoline," said Gari, who was injured at Skyzone.

The Southaven native teaches in Kenya, and the last time she was home her family celebrated her mother's birthday at Skyzone.

"It was a very well made trampoline, and I wasn't ready for that," said Gari.

The party started at 11:30 a.m. and by 11:32 a.m., she was hurt.

"When I came down, I dislocated my ankle. My foot came out of place," said Gari.

"Her foot was going to the right and her leg was going to the left. It was bad," said her father, Greg Reynolds.

She ended up with a cast, a brace, crutches, and months of physical therapy. Injuries more severe than Gari's have prompted battles for regulatory legislation in other states.

Michigan, California, and Arizona all have laws regulating trampoline parks. However, there are no laws or regulations in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee where there's a trampoline court in every major city.

"I'm not a big fan of over regulation, but at the same time too, though, you need to be fully aware of what you're getting into," said Greg.

Skyzone says everyone should indeed be fully aware. The company is credited with inventing indoor trampoline parks. When the first Mid-South facility opened in February 2012, Skyzone Memphis owner Chris Avery told WMC Action News 5 "Our trampolines are structurally sound."

"They can't put their hands or their feet or anything through the springs," he added. "We also have court monitors that are out here to ensure the safety of our guests."

When asked to respond to the number of 911 calls from their location, Skyzone sent WMC Action News 5 an e-mail.

They said it's provided "awesome, healthy, fun" to about 300,000 visitors in just two years and noted, "As with any physical activity, there is inherent risk." The CEO says the company supports regulatory legislation and they have been working to adopt industry standards for "design, maintenance and manufacturing of trampoline courts."

"I actually had to look at a case," said personal injury attorney Chris Gilreath.

He investigated after a Memphis Skyzone customer suffered a compound leg fracture. Gilreath did not file a claim based on surrounding circumstance, including a signed waiver form.

"From a business standpoint, it is for them to try control their exposure to risk of harm," said Gilreath.

Everyone who wants to jump must sign it. Gilreath says it protects the park from civil claims based on negligence, but not intentionally reckless or harmful conduct.

"It's the watch phrase of: Your word is your bond," said Gilreath. "Whatever you sign, you are said to have agreed to pay attention to what it is ... You could easily take a very happy, positive situation and something unforeseen happens, and it just ruins the whole experience."

Just ask the Reynolds about their birthday bounce that ended in the emergency room.

"They gave us some free passes, but those have not been used and will not be used," said Greg.

"My siblings love it, a trampoline park, but that was my first time and probably my last," said Gari.

Legislation proposed in California would require trampoline parks to be inspected like amusement park rides. This is in addition to insurance requirements, employee training, and a system in place to report injuries.

A Skyzone official who testified before California legislators in 2013 said "the most dangerous activity a child or parent could be involved in, in attending trampoline parks, is driving there."

To read the Skyzone waiver, follow the link: http://www.skyzone.com/Portals/0/waivers/memphis.pdf.

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