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Managing your trampoline exposure

Whether jumping for fun and exercise or training for competition, both children and adults can be severely injured if trampolines are used and supervised improperly. Recently, Markel learned of two serious claims resulting from improper trampoline use: a severe leg injury as the result of a double bounce and a fractured neck due to the improper execution of a somersault. Your gymnastics risk management practices must include strategies to prevent trampoline accidents.

Tips to prevent trampoline injuries

  • Ensure that coaches are in close proximity while supervising groups.
  • Know the skill level of your students and whether they can successfully execute the desired routine or movement. Never allow a student to execute a routine or use equipment without confirming it is safe.
  • Track where students and visitors are at all times. Consider blocking access to areas that are off limits.
  • Keep supervision ratios to manageable levels. Markel recommends no more than eight students per coach.
  • Give a briefing on gym rules to guest gymnasts and visitors before allowing access to the workout area.
  • Prepare staff to reinforce the rules and stop the activity if necessary. Consider requiring host and/or adult attendees to sign a written agreement that outlines all rules.
  • Have all gym participants sign a waiver or release before using the gym.
  • Purchase professional-level equipment (not backyard equipment) that can stand up to rigorous use, even if it is more expensive. Less expensive equipment can ultimately cost you more, especially if you are sued because of an injury resulting from the use of improper equipment.
  • Set guidelines for employees who are terminated or visit the gym during off hours. Guidelines should require management approval to be on the gym floor in any capacity, sufficient spotting for difficult maneuvers, and authorization for private lessons. Display signs reinforcing that gym access is prohibited without management approval.