A Pennsylvania mother is sounding the alarm after her 13-year-old daughter was seriously injured on a trampoline. She says she hopes to spare other children and parents the same debilitating injuries that her daughter is coping with.
Mary Maloney, whom her mother Pam Surano describes as “very acrobatic” and “extremely athletic,” was jumping on a trampoline Aug. 30, probably doing flips like any athletic and acrobatic child would do, her mother said, despite parental warnings.
There was a safety net around the trampoline, but it didn’t prevent Mary from landing on her head and neck in a way that first seemed like a muscle sprain or minor injury.
Mary took a hot bath to try to soothe her muscles, but the pain grew worse and she had some difficulty getting out of the tub. She lay down on the bed for a few minutes. Eventually realizing she couldn’t move, she called her father for help. He carried her to the car and took her to the hospital.
Doctors put Mary though a CT scan and MRI, but neither showed a visible injury. Additional scans eventually revealed that Mary suffered a stroke in the part of her spine that controls the arms and legs. She was admitted to the ICU at a Pittsburgh children’s hospital, where she spent nearly a week before being released to a rehabilitation hospital.
Mary remains paralyzed from the chest down and still can’t walk but there are signs of progress. She has some sensation in her lower extremities and she and her parents remain positive that with time and effort, the injury will heal.
“If you touch her thigh or her leg or her feet, she can feel you touching them,” Ms. Surano, a reporter with Pittsburgh station KDKA, told the Today Show. “That’s a big win, and we’ll take it.”
Of course, accidents can happen to anyone, but trampolines remain a particularly dangerous form of recreation despite the safeguards and warnings.
“I don’t want to finger point or blame anybody, certainly not Mary or anybody else, but I would never advocate anyone use the trampoline,” Ms. Surano told Today.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that physicians treated more than 300,000 trampoline injuries in 2018 alone. More than one-third of those injuries were serious enough for a trip to the ER.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Trampoline jumping poses a high risk of injury for children. The activity can result in sprains and fractures in the arms or legs — as well as head and neck injuries. The risk of injury is so high that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home.”
Trampoline park injuries also are on the rise. According to NBC Bay Area, “a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics showed emergency room visits due to trampoline park injuries increased nearly 1,100% from 2010 to 2014. The study also found that compared to home trampolines, trampoline parks are producing more serious injuries.”
Dr. Steven Rogers, a pediatric emergency physician and research scientist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center who co-authored the 2016 AAP study, told NBC News Bay Area that more should be done to make trampolines safer.
“You are jumping higher than you normally would and landing on an uneven surface,” he said. “I think trampoline parks are super fun for kids. I think we can do a better job of making them safer to use.”
Additional source: Trib Live