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Deaths, injuries at trampoline parks jump to dangerous levels

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(Associated Press)

NEW YORK – As trampoline parks become more popular around the U.S., experts warn about the rising dangers the facilities pose to children and adults.

According to CBS News, visits to emergency rooms due to trampoline park injuries has risen from 2,500 in 2013 to nearly 18,000 in 2017.

But more than injuries, the report claims six people have died from injuries suffered at the parks over the last seven years.

A former gymnastics coach says he's been called as an expert witness in more than 200 cases involving trampoline parks since 2011.

"Broken necks, broken backs, dislocated and open-fractured elbows, shoulders," said Don McPherson. "They're all catastrophic injuries."

The main cause of the danger comes from a "double bounce," which is when multiple people are on a trampoline and one's jump causes waves across the rest of the surface.

"They're moving at speeds and with energy that when they hit or get hit by somebody else that's twice their weight, they end up with crush injuries," McPherson said.

The CBS report shared the story of Ric Sweezy, a collegiate national champion gymnast who died in 2017 when he came down on the wrong foot at a trampoline park and hit his head against a thinly-padded wall.

Sweezy's vertebra cracked, restricting his airway and bloodflow, leaving him paralyzed. He later died after being declared 90 percent brain dead.

In the report, McPherson said those in the gymnastic community call the trampoline parks "death parks."