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More than 200 ambulance call outs to trampoline centres

By Jessica Labhart | Oldbury | Health | Published:

They are fun – and help persuade children to get off the couch.

But, like all physical activity, trampoline centres come with risks.

Figures released today reveal the rise in bounce parks has also led to a rise in injuries caused by related falls.

West Midlands Ambulance Service says that, along with the usual knocks and scrapes from weekend football matches, trampolining is now being added to the list of most common call-outs.

Paramedics have been called out to trampoline parks in the West Midlands more than 200 times since 2015, new figures have revealed.

The figures, released as part of an Freedom of Information request made to West Midlands Ambulance Service, show that there has been a total of 279 call outs to 12 trampoline parks in our region since 2015.

In the last two years, ambulances have been called out to trampoline centres in Wolverhampton, Cannock, Walsall, Oldbury, Stourbridge and Stone as well as Birmingham.

Calls to the ambulance service have been made after 'falls' or 'trauma' according to the service's call log. The individual injuries of each person hurt at a centre has not been revealed.

It is statistically still very unlikely anyone entering a trampoline park will be injured and all centres across the West Midlandss and Staffordshire have strict rules and trained staff on hand. But the nature of the centres means that accidents will happen.

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According to today's figures, Flip Out, based at Stone Business Park, had the highest number of call outs, with 28 in 2016/17 up from 17 call outs in 2015/16. Already so far in 2017/18 - from April 1 to September 30, they have called for an ambulance 13 times, taking the total number of call outs to 58.

A spokesman for the centre said: "We are disappointed by these figures as they do not accurately reflect our own records which also show not all injuries are caused by using the equipment.

"Around 470,000 people have visited Flip Out Stoke since we opened in December 2015.

"Safety is our number one priority and our safety standards are well and above what is legally required and amongst the best in the industry.

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"All our staff are professionally trained in first aid to ensure that everyone who visits can enjoy all of the activities in a safe environment."

Boing Zone, Mill Race Lane in Stourbridge also featured high on the list of calls to ambulances. In 2015/16, the centre made 16 calls for ambulances to attend. In 2016/17 this increased to 17, and just one call out this year bringing the total up to 34.

Ian Clarke, director of the Stourbridge centre said the good brought by trampoline parks far outweighs any risk. Nationally, the parks have been credited in persuading the younger generation to get active again – and to leave their mobile phone if only for an hour.

Mr Clarke said : "Although any injury, especially to children is regrettable, children carrying out no exercise at all is much more damaging in the long term.

"Every parent and child dissuaded from exercise by incorrect advice may shorten that child's life

"Trampolining like all sports does have risks, although home trampolines are far more dangerous than well run trampoline parks.

"It is a fact that more ambulances visit a trampoline park compared to other leisure venues.

"But when further analysis is carried out, far more injuries per participant occur in other sports, for example football. This fact seems to be ignored because the ambulances collect from several pitches rather than just one trampoline park. "

Air Space, based on Well Lane in Wolverhampton was third highest in the list of call-outs, with a total of 32. The centre had 12 call outs in 2015/16 which increased to 16 in 2016/17. From the start of April to the end of September this year, the centre has called for paramedics to attend four times.

David Stalker, Oxygen Freejumping CEO, said: Since our acquisition of the park in July 2017, the park has operated exemplary health and safety practices, which are far more robust than any other trampoline park operator.

"As with any leisure activity there are risks of injury, however, trampoline parks carry no more risk than any other sport or activity.

"Since Wolverhampton’s launch we have supported over 370,000 customers to take up trampolining, which is far more than any other operator in the midlands. Any assessment of safety practices must review accident rates which are a far more accurate measurement. Since Wolverhampton’s launch the site’s accident rate has been 0.12%, which is far lower than numerous other leisure activities."

Jump In based at Bentley Mill Way, Walsall came fourth highest in the list of call outs for our region, with a total of 22, and Flip Out, based at Churchbridge, Oldbury came sixth highest. The Oldbury centre only began operating in 2016/17 and had 14 calls during that period, with six so far this year.

Boing Zone based on Walkmill Lane, Cannock, had one of the lowest rates for ambulance call outs with a total of seven since 2016/17.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the number of call outs for trampoline injuries to domestic addresses as the information is not held in a reportable format.

"When the calls are received, they will be logged by chief complaint therefore, the call may come through as ‘trauma’ or ‘fall’."

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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