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MLA wants Alberta to regulate trampoline parks after man killed in B.C. accident

An Alberta MLA is calling for regulation of trampoline parks after a B.C. man was killed and a Sherwood Park man left paralyzed in similar incidents.

Emergency room statistics suggests facility injuries are on the rise

Jay Greenwood, of Victoria, B.C., died after a foam-pit accident at a trampoline park in Richmond, B.C., on Saturday. (Extreme Air Park Richmond B.C.)

A member of the United Conservative Party is calling on the Alberta government to regulate trampoline parks in the province following the weekend death of a Victoria man at a trampoline facility in Richmond, B.C.

Jay Greenwood, 46, died after he was injured Saturday night when he jumped into the foam pit of Richmond's Extreme Air Park.

Police said he was "allegedly performing a series of acrobatic manoeuvres."

In a similar incident one year ago, Landon Smith jumped into the foam pit of Jump Park Trampoline in Sherwood Park, breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Smith, now 19, is suing the business for more than $17 million.

Two months after the Sherwood Park incident, UCP MLA Wayne Drysdale raised the topic in the Alberta Legislature, asking how the government plans to address injuries and regulations at trampoline parks. 
Grande Prairie-Wapiti UCP MLA Wayne Drysdale is calling for regulation of trampoline parks. (supplied )

Most Canadian facilities voluntarily follow the industry standards set for such parks in the United States. But because there are no regulations for trampoline parks in Canada, there is no enforcement of safety standards.

"There should be some standards when you apply for the development permit," Drysdale said on Thursday. "You should meet certain standards and regulations and [they] should be monitored."

He's calling for trampoline parks to require an operating permit, annual inspections and standards for installation. He would also like the parks to be required to keep records of injuries and to ensure all staff have mandatory first aid training.

"Anything we can do to prevent one of those would be well worth it, I'm sure," he said.

"If it's done properly and safely, kids have a lot of fun on them."

The Alberta government is keeping an eye on findings of the American Society for Testing and Materials, which is currently working on new standards for trampoline foam pits," spokesperson Shannon Greer said in a statement.

"We were deeply saddened to hear of this tragic event in British Columbia. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family," the statement said. "The safety of Albertans is a top priority for our government." 

Landon Smith of Sherwood Park was left paralyzed from the chest down after an accident at a trampoline park in January 2017. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

When the U.S. review is complete, the Alberta government will look at the findings and "consider if changes are needed in Alberta."

Drysdale has met with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to discuss regulations of trampoline parks to prevent serious injuries. He believes changes may happen.

"I think she was genuinely concerned and wanted to do what she could to help," he said.

Trampoline park injury data

According to Alberta Health Services data, there were 337 emergency department visits due to falls involving trampolines between November 2014 and  March 2015. The data includes backyard trampolines.

The number has increased substantially in the last couple of years. There were 477 emergency room visits between November 2015 and March 2016, and 429 visits during the same time period of 2016-17.

Kathy Belton, the associate director at the University of Alberta's Injury Prevention Centre, suspects those months are heavily showing trampoline park-related statistics, instead of a mixture including backyard incidents.

"In Alberta, you really aren't out in your backyard in those time periods," she said.

Belton would like to see data gathered about incidents that occur in trampoline parks and the types of injuries that are sustained. Currently that type of information is not being collected.

"We first have to get some regulations on who can be in them, who can use them, what type of flooring do they have to have, what kind of standards are we ensuring that these trampoline parks have,"

Travis.McEwan@cbc.ca

@Travismcewancbc

About the Author

Travis McEwan

Videojournalist

Travis McEwan is a video journalist, who has not won any awards. Originally from Churchill, Manitoba, he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca