Charlie got a trampoline for his seventh birthday. We gave it to him a week early, since he was going to be out of school that week for Fall Break from school. He is naturally very gifted when it comes to gross motor activities, and he loves doing gymnastics. This Fall, we enrolled him at the YMCA for a gymnastics class, and he has done so well, we have decided to set up some equipment for Charlie at home to use in order to help him from a sensory integration dysfunction standpoint. While I know that gymnastics without proper supervision is discouraged, I feel like I am qualified to supervise these activities since I did gymnastics, and everything he is doing, or trying to do, I have done and generally, know how to instruct or correct. Well, everything except that trick he did last night. None of my flips had a twist to them, and I think that's where he went wrong. He had done two days of these twisty flips, and then, out of no where, he had done one two many, and probably had lost some sense of balance and did the flip and landed in the middle of the enclose trampoline in some weird position that I honestly can't even remember the position since it happened so fast, yet I knew it was bad.
We know something is bad when Charlie complains since he doesn't generally feel pain as other children due to the sensory integration dysfunction diagnosis. His pain tolerance is much greater than most, and usually is an enabler to him to try things that might frighten other children to attempt. While I was older, about ten years old, when we got our trampoline, I remember doing all sorts of tricks from flips to handsprings, to front and back falls that would make a chiropractor cringe. However, I have never had back pain or problems, and I did all that without a safety net enclosure and managed just fine. However, I felt pain in my shoulder and upper back last night as we were in bed. I knew it was his pain. I had given him ibuprofen and had him sleep in our bed last night since I wanted to keep an eye on him. At 5:30 AM he woke up vomiting.
I knew it was time to take him to the have him checked out. Luckily, our local emergency room was empty, and we were seen immediately. The doctor said he generally doesn't do all the work up on an injury with vomiting as he did, (CT of head, cervical and thoracic spine), however, it was tricky because Charlie isn't great at describing his pain, and I remembered the back pain being his chief complaint after the incident. All looked fine, and he was given a dose of ibuprofen and Zofran for nausea, and he is doing so much better.
So, here is where I stand on trampolines. I feel the same way about them as I do about bikes, jump rope, running down a hill too fast with untied shoelaces, hanging upside down off playground bars, etc... They all can potentially be dangerous. But so can lots of activities. I remember when I worked the urgent care seeing a wind instrument marching band student who came in with a pneumothorax, and it was attributed to his instrument playing. Holy smokes...
Can I keep my kid in a bubble? Nope. And I don't want to. I want him to wear a helmet if he is on ANY contraption with wheels, like his bike, roller blades, skateboard or his scooter. I want him to stop and look both ways if he is going to cross a street or parking lot. I want him to learn what his body is capable of doing, and then try to push it a little further in order to develop new skills. Does watching my kid get hurt make me cringe and worry? Yep. But he will be okay, because I am here to prevent the worst of it, and allow him to fall down so that he can learn from it. It's not like I am sending him out to juggle knives while riding a unicycle and tame a wild snake without a helmet... Of course he will be wearing a helmet when doing that sort of stuff ;o)
The jumping last night was right AFTER dinner, teeth, and bath. I needed to work on some homework with him and he was not focused. So, I put he and Shay on the trampoline to alternate every five minutes so that after he had jumped, I could have his attention for a five minute span and then get him to move some more. It really works for us, and he did great, until.... Here's a video of the trampoline time just prior to to the injury.