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Trampoline and Hoverboard Trauma

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD July 21, 2019

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser post discusses trampoline and hoverboard trauma.

People love trampolines and more recently, hoverboards. Yet, the only time I hear the word trampoline is when someone’s been hurt. I’m not the only one who’d vaporize them on site. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that trampolines never be used at home or in outdoor playgrounds. Associated injuries include head and neck contusions, fractures, strains and sprains, among other injuries.

Here’s a story

With the recent  holiday weekend behind us, let me share a story…. It starts with me back in the emergency room with a little girl who looks like her forearm is going to fall off the rest of her upper extremity.
posterior elbow dislocation

 

So my patient had a (posteriorly) dislocated elbow, meaning she fell off the trampoline, landing on the back of the extended upper arm, pushing the upper arm bone (the humerus) in front of the elbow and forearm. This is how that looks (yes, the ball is supposed to fit into the socket). You are similarly at risk from falls from our newfangled hoverboards.

hoverboard trauma

So for the joy of bouncing on a trampoline, the child had to be put asleep so the elbow could be replaced into the appropriate position. This procedure is fraught with potential for complications, including a broken bone on the way back, as well as damage to the local nerves and arteries (brachial artery, median and ulnar nerves), which can become entrapped during the effort to relocate the bone into the elbow joint. Some limitation in fully bending the arm up and down (flexion and extension) is common after a dislocation, especially without prompt orthopedic and physical therapy follow-up. This really is a high price to pay for the privilege of bouncing up and down.

Tips to Reduce Injuries

So if you’re going to allow your kids to play on a trampoline, get smart! Here are three tips that reduce injuries.

  • Enclose the trampoline with a net. Your child won’t get thrown from the trampoline.
  • Completely cover the frame and hooks with padding.  Your child won’t get impaled or scratched.
  • Keep the trampoline away from anything else, including trees and rocks.

 

trampoline and hover board trauma

Think back to the little girl I had to care for. Was this predictable event worth the effort? That includes the mental stress of being in a loud emergency room in pain. That includes getting an IV needle. Also, we gave her anesthesia and put her to sleep.  As per routine, an ounce of prevention…

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