Since the Joba Chamberlain news came out, a debate has sprung up about the wisdom employed by Mr. Chamberlain in being on that trampoline in the first place. Between the comments and Twitter, I’ve seen opinion range from “leave Joba alone!” to “Joba is the biggest idiot in the history of idiots.”
I think both of those are extreme. My view: it’s understandable that he wanted to have fun with his son. Who wouldn’t want to? But it was probably a bad decision here because trampolines are really freakin’ dangerous.
As it is, if you have one, your homeowner’s insurance company will make you pay a higher premium. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there are approximately 100,000 backyard trampoline injuries a year. Kids die on them too. And while the CPSC hasn’t yet gathered numbers on those indoor trampoline centers — which is where it appears Chamberlain’s injury happened — they are likely pretty freakin’ dangerous too.
For an idea of that, check out this article from last summer about trampoline centers. It starts out with the business model for these places, but moves on to just how damn dangerous they are:
Since November, one Midwest trampoline park has had ambulances dispatched to it for trauma injuries ranging from broken ankles and dislocated shoulders to a head injury— a 13-year-old girl who fell on her head and reported tingling in her arms and difficulty breathing. Another West Coast center had fifteen ambulance calls since the place opened last fall, several of which were for serious injuries. These are only the ambulance calls; they don’t include the injuries where the parents took their children to the hospital.
The potential for devastating injuries concerns Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio …. we will probably shortly be seeing multiple lawsuits about trampoline park injuries, insurance companies refusing to continue to insure them, municipalities passing regulations prohibiting them and probably the Consumer Product Safety Commission cracking down on them.
Back to Joba. Is he a dumb guy for wanting to play with his son? Of course not, and my heart breaks for him. But at the same time, this is not just one of those situations where we look back at the decision after an injury and say, only then, that the decision was a poor one due to the occurrence of the injury.
Trampolines aren’t bicycles or community swimming pools. They do not require you to be particularly careless in order for an injury to happen. They are way more dangerous, and anyone whose career depends on being physically healthy has to think twice before participating in an activity with this much risk and where they make you sign elaborate injury waivers.
So, sorry, but for as understandable as it was that Chamberlain wanted to play with his son, he made a bad choice here. And that choice will cost him at least this season and maybe more. Maybe his career.
In other news: