Have you done all you can to use your trampoline safely but someone still got hurt? Maybe no one has gotten hurt yet, but you want to know ahead of time what to do if an injury does occur. In this article we’ll walk you through the most common injuries that can occur while using your trampoline, the symptoms and treatments associated with each injury, and when a visit to the doctor may be necessary.
Around 75% of all injuries sustained while using a trampoline occur when multiple people are jumping at once. In these cases people will hit into each other or get bumped off the side. However, there are also times when a single jumper can become injured as well.
The most common injuries are caused by landing wrong when jumping, flipping, or doing somersaults; landing on the springs or frame of the trampoline; jumping or falling off of the side of the trampoline; or attempting to do stunts or tricks.
The most common injuries that occur when using a trampoline are mild and consist of bruises, scrapes, cuts, sprains, and strains. More severe injuries can include broken bones, neck injuries, head trauma, and concussion.
So, how can you tell the difference between these, and what do you do if you suspect that you or a member of your family is suffering from one of these injuries? Let’s go through each one and talk about what it is and what to do about it.
Mild injuries are generally not serious and don’t need to be seen by a doctor. They are easy to treat at home and usually heal on their own in a few days, with or without treatment.
A bruise usually occurs after some sort of bump or blow to an area of the body. It results in a discoloration of the skin caused by broken or damaged blood vessels under the skin’s surface. With a trampoline this can most commonly occur by hitting part of the frame or by bumping into another jumper. A bruise will start out as a reddening of the skin on the area the injury occurred, it will gradually turn a blueish/purple color after a few hours or days. As the bruise heals it will turn to a green or yellow color and then disappear. It may be sore and tender at first with a small amount of swelling, but this pain and swelling should subside as the bruise heals.
Treatment: A cold compress or ice pack applied for 20-30 minutes soon after the injury is the best form of treatment. This can be repeated as needed. After 48 hours a warm compress or heating pad can by applied to the area.
If the bruise is accompanied by extreme pain or a large amount of swelling, or if it doesn’t go away within 2-3 weeks, you may want to call a doctor to see if medical treatment may be necessary.
A scrape or cut can occur if you hit, land on, or rub against a hard, rough, or sharp object. A scrape usually affects the surface of the skin and may or may not break the surface causing bleeding. A cut generally occurs due to a sharp object breaking the surface of the skin. These types of injuries tend to occur from landing on a trampoline spring or falling onto a hard surface, or if there are loose articles on the trampoline, or in someone’s pockets or hands while jumping. Most symptoms are mild and may consist of redness, swelling, pain, irritation, or bleeding.
Treatment: To treat a scrape or cut, make sure to always start with clean hands to prevent introducing dirt or bacteria into the broken skin. Immediately rinse the scrape or cut under cool, clean, running water for 1 to 2 minutes. A small amount of bleeding can be a good thing as it will help push out any dirt that may be in the wound and help that dirt be flushed out with the running water. If the scrape or cut is still bleeding after a thorough rinsing apply a clean cloth or gauze to the wound and apply firm, direct pressure until the bleeding stops. You can also elevate the area to help the bleeding stop sooner. Once the bleeding has stopped apply a sterile bandage and change daily until the cut scabs over.
If the wound occurs on the face or head you may want to have it seen by a doctor depending on how severe it looks and feels. If the edges of the cut are jagged or gape open, if the cut is a deep puncture or scrape more than ¼ inch deep, or if you can see fat, muscle, or bone, you want to be seen by a doctor in case stitches are needed. You should also call a doctor if there is a lot of dirt in the wound that will not come out with rinsing, or if you experience numbing in the injured area.
If at any time during the healing process you start to have signs of infection you should contact a doctor right away. Signs of infection can include increased redness, swelling, and warmth of the area around the wound; increased pain; pus or draining from the wound, especially if it is accompanied by a foul smell; fever; or red streaks around the wound. While infections are rare as long as you keep a wound clean, they can be serious and should not be overlooked.
Sprains and strains can occur from a number of things. Usually when landing wrong on the trampoline surface, or exerting yourself too much. A sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of ligaments. A strain on the other hand, is an injury to a muscle or the tissue attaching muscle to bone. When you experience a sprain or strain you may have pain, swelling, bruising and a reduced range of motion in the affected joint or muscle area. You may even hear or feel a popping of the joint at the time of injury.
Treatment: Most sprains and strains are not serious, they cause some slight discomfort but they will go away on their own within a few weeks. Resting the affected muscle group or joint, applying ice packs or cold compresses, and elevating the affected area, will all help to heal the sprain or strain more quickly and make you more comfortable during the healing process.
You should contact a doctor if you cannot move or bare weight on the affected area, if you have pain over the bone under the injured area, or if you are experiencing numbness in the area as this could mean a more serious injury such as a broken bone.
While most injuries occurring from the use of trampolines are mild and do not require much more than time to heal, there are injuries that can occur that are serious and even life threatening. Most of these injuries should be seen by a doctor either right away, or within a day or two of experiencing symptoms.
Broken bones, also referred to as fractures, are just what they sound like, a bone that has broken or been cracked. This most often occurs from landing wrong when jumping; being jumped on by another jumper; or falling, or being bumped off of the side of the trampoline. This type of injury will always need to be seen by a doctor to have the bone reset and possibly need surgery to put the bone back in place.
The most common symptoms of a fractured or broken bone are: immediate swelling or bruising over the affected bone; deformity of the arm, leg, or extremity that has been fractured; pain that worsens when moved or when pressure is applied to the area; the inability to bare weight on the affected bone; loss of function, mobility, or numbness; nausea or vomiting; and in extreme cases the bone may actually break the skin and be protruding out of the skin.
In extreme cases transporting the person to the hospital is not possible and you may need to call for emergency services. However, most of the time a fracture will not need emergency treatment. In this case you should try to make a splint to place around the area to keep it from moving and worsening the break. First, if bleeding occurs, try to stop the bleeding, then use a straight, rigid material like wood, plastic or metal and loosely cover with cloth or gauze.
If making a splint is not possible, use a pillow under and around the affected area while in route to the hospital to avoid bumps or touching that can be painful and worsen the injury. Giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen soon after the injury occurs will help to reduce the pain and inflammation, and will help keep the injured person more comfortable while they are waiting for the doctor to set the fracture. An ice pack can also help to reduce swelling and pain as long as it doesn’t cause more discomfort to the injury.
Most neck injuries occur while trying to do flips and inverted tricks on a trampoline. These usually happen when you land on your head, neck, or shoulders. Minor neck injuries result in stiffness; decreased range of motion in the head and shoulders; headache or dizziness; sprains or strains; and tingling or numbness in the limbs of the affected side. Often these injuries don’t need to be seen by a doctor and can be treated at home.
Treatment for neck injuries generally include cold and hot packs, resting, and small, gentle, stretching exercises. If you have stiffness you can try slowly tilting your head from side to side, forward and back, or in circular motions. Massage can also be helpful for relaxing and loosening tight, strained muscles.
If the motion in your head/neck doesn’t return to normal within a few weeks or if you can’t move your head at all, call a doctor to see if something more serious is going on.
A head injury can mean any type of injury occurring on or near the head and face. It can range from a bump or bruise, to a cut or scrape, or to something more serious occurring inside the head or brain. Head injuries most often happen from falls on the trampoline resulting in hitting your head against something, whether that’s another jumper, the frame of the trampoline, or the ground below.
Head injuries can range from mild symptoms that can be dealt with at home, to severe and even life threatening injuries that need emergency medical treatment.
In mild head injuries you may experience any of the following:
Swollen area on the head; bump or bruise; small shallow cut; headache; blurry vision; sensitivity to light and sound; tired eyes; nausea or vomiting; irritability; confusion; memory loss or lack of concentration; altered sleep patterns; lightheaded or dizziness; unbalanced feeling; fatigue or lethargy; ringing in the ears; and altered taste.
More severe head injuries can include the following symptoms:
Severe headache that doesn’t get better; slurred speech; repeated vomiting; difficulty walking; weakness on one side or one area of the body; sweating; pale skin; behavioral changes; loss of consciousness; loss of short term memory; no memory of the accident; seizures or convulsions; blood or clear fluid draining from the ears or nose; differences in the size of one pupil or pupils not constricting when exposed to light; deep cut, open wound, or foreign object protruding from the head; concussion or coma.
Mild symptoms can be treated at home using bandages, ice, rest and observation. If you experience or notice any of the symptoms of severe head injury see a doctor right away as you may need stitches, hospitalization, sedation, or surgery.
A concussion can be caused by a head or neck injury and generally occurs from a serious blow to the head. Some concussions are mild and can be treated at home with rest and relaxation. However, if you suspect a concussion you should contact a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
The most common symptoms of mild concussion are: headache; tinnitus; nausea; vomiting; drowsiness; blurry vision; confusion; amnesia; dizziness; the feeling of seeing stars; brief loss of consciousness; forgetfulness; slurred speech; and a delayed response to answering questions. A mild concussion may not need emergency treatment but it is an urgent care injury and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of a severe concussion, you should seek emergency treatment right away.
Those symptoms may include: any of the minor symptoms listed above that get worse over time instead of getting better; worsening headache; vision disturbances; recurrent or lasting dizziness; ringing in the ears that does not subside or worsens; repeated nausea or vomiting; weakness in the arms or legs; a pale skin appearance that lasts longer than an hour; noticeable behavioral changes; confusion or disorientation; slurred speech or noticeable changes in speech patterns; obvious difficulty with mental or physical functions; fluid or blood draining from the ears or nose; seizures or convulsions; or a loss of consciousness for a period longer than 30 seconds.
Hopefully this article has given you practical information on injuries associated with using a trampoline, causes, symptoms, home treatment, and when you should get medical attention. While most injuries are mild and require nothing more than a little time to heal, more serious injuries can be very dangerous and even life threatening.
If you are ever unsure about whether or not an injury needs medical attention please call a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your families health and safety.