I hate trampolines.
As a kid, of course I loved them. Until I was at a party in junior high, and saw a kid do a face-dive onto the springs, and split (yes, split) his nose wide open. That's an image that stays with you.
So there are pads for the springs, and nets, and more padded bars. None of those things can prevent broken bones, sprained muscles or torn ligaments.
And none of those things prevented my son's injury.
I should have known better.
In 2006, my son, Monkey 4, was 7 years-old when he jumped on the trampoline twice -- as in two jumps -- and tore most of the ligaments in his knee. I heard a terrible scream, the kind no mother ever wants to hear, and saw my son trying to hop and hobble back to the house with the lower half of his leg dangling unnaturally. His knee cap was then on the outer part of his leg.
After a useless trip to the ER and a month wasted with a local orthopaedist who said he "just wasn't sure how to treat someone so young with that kind of injury," we were blessed to find a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon that could help my son regain the use of his leg. It also turned out that this doctor's special interest is knees. . . . I saw that as a bit of Providence!
In April of 2006, my son underwent arthroscopic surgery to stabilize his patella (requiring a hamstring graft and muscle realignment.) The outcome was excellent, and his recovery was swift and complete.
Knee, with leg straight. . . looks pretty good. Knee stays in place here.
But children grow, and there are those pesky growth spurts. . . . which wreak havoc on my son's knee. We always knew he would have to have at least one other knee surgery, and we were hoping we could hold off until his mid-teens. But now it doesn't look like the knee is going to hold out that long. His knee has become unstable, and light to moderate activity (like walking 9 holes of golf or going on a 10-minute bike ride) causes pain and discomfort.
When he bends his knee slightly, the knee cap starts to slide to the side and down.
Today, he saw his doctor, and the outlook is not good. Surgery is a strong possibility. One question regarding surgery is when to do the surgery. Do we wait? Do we do it now? If now, then another question arises -- how many will be required? If we don't choose surgery, his joint would degenerate faster and pain would be a huge factor. So for now, two CTs are being scheduled, and once those are completed, we'll have to look at his options more closely when we have more information.
When the knee is bent more (about 110-degrees) the knee cap is completely off track.
His injuries are permanent. This definitely affects his quality of life. No football, no soccer, no roller blading, no bounce houses at birthday parties. Not to mention the pain from the injury, surgeries and recoveries. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars that are spent (and will be spent) just so he can walk and not have chronic pain. Not to mention the likelihood that he will have arthritis by the time he's 20.
Please think about these things before you let your child jump on a trampoline. Be safe.