When using a trampoline, participants should stay within their skill level, says a Victoria gymnastics club manager. (Photo courtesy Flying Squirrel)

Operator of Esquimalt trampoline park chain reacts to Richmond tragedy

Parks have numerous safety standards, but users must sign an injury waiver

A horrific tragedy at a Richmond trampoline park has led some to characterize the entire industry as inherently unsafe, an assumption operators of Greater Victoria’s only such park call misinformed.

A 46-year-old Victoria father, Jay Greenwood, died Jan. 20 after he fell at Extreme Air Park while performing what police described as “a series of acrobatic manoeuvres.”

“Our hearts go out to the families that have been affected by this tragedy, ” said Luke Schueler, COO of Flying Squirrel, which has numerous trampoline parks, including one in Esquimalt. “Patron safety is our top priority. Any and every injury is a serious matter, and we have mandatory policies and procedures set for all team members to ensure all optimal steps must be followed to mitigate the risk of injury.”

But Schueler acknowledged that, as with any physical recreational activity, there is potential for injury.

The Canadian Pediatric Society issued a a blanket condemnation of trampolines in 2013. They encouraged parents to avoid them for home use by children or teens and say trampolines should not be considered play equipment. As for trampoline parks, the society indicates they “carry serious risk of injury to children.”

Schueler maintains that the Flying Squirrel trampoline parks have taken steps to mitigate that risk as much as possible.

“To educate our customers we have warning signs and guidelines for the safe use of the trampolines. We also have safety videos playing throughout the check-in area and employ court monitors to strictly enforce the rules and monitor patron activity,” he said. Staff quickly eject any patrons who engage in unsafe practices, he added.

Where trouble sometimes occurs is when multiple jumpers are on the same trampoline.

“It’s that double bounce that can really get people hurt,”said Cassie Poirier, manager of Victoria Gymnastics Club.

“We have trampolines in our facility, but only one child is ever allowed on at any time and there is always a certified instructor within arm’s reach. If you have more than one person on the trampoline, especially of different weights, the smaller person can be launched with no control of their movements and injuries are going to happen,” she explained.

While Schueler recognizes the danger of the double bounce effect, he is quick to point out the most dangerous aspect of the occurrence happens when a small child is on the trampoline with a much larger child or adult.

“We have designed our parks so that we have a kiddie section for younger children so they are separated from older youth and adults. And our court monitors make a point of steering smaller children to that area. Some other parks don’t do that, and it can result in a dangerous situation,” he said.

“We also stop people from attempting tricks that are clearly beyond their skill level.”

Flying Squirrel ensures that staff with CPR and defibrillator certification are on site at all times, added Schueler.

The best advice, according to Poirier, is to ensure anyone using a trampoline is properly monitored and that they stay within their skill capabilities. That, she said, applies regardless of whether a person is at the gymnastics club, a trampoline park or using a backyard trampoline.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Warrant issued for man who missed court in Victoria

In 2012 Derek McLean was prematurely released due to a paperwork mistake

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps hires new chief of staff

Alison James will take over as head of strategy and operations on April 23

Almost 150 hectares purchased for parks in the CRD

Capital Regional District purchases two sites to increase park connectivity

Volunteer garbage-picker regularly stuff bags with Prospect Lake Road litter

Resident says trash is an indicator of dangerous cut-through traffic

Victoria shatters its oldest temperature record

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Crown drops one assault charge against B.C. man linked to human remains probe

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

Most Read