Older leapers warned off

Last updated 08:57 12/01/2013
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Stephanie Mcmillian is a former trampoline coach speaking out about accidents involving the elderly.

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"Don't drink and trampoline", and think twice about jumping on with your grandchildren, says an expert who is surprised at the number of elderly people injured on one each year.

About one person aged 70 or over has been injured each month for the past four years while trampolining, figures from the Accident Compensation Corporation show.

All up there have been 39,000 claims for trampoline injuries over the four years, at a cost of $13.5 million.

Sixty-two of those involved people aged 70 or over; 64 involved those aged 65-69. The biggest number of injuries - 32,992 - were sustained by children aged 14 or under. Just over half of all injuries involved males.

Former trampoline and aerobics coach Stephanie McMillan, 61, said while the young suffered most injuries, those that happened to the elderly were likely to be more serious and to take longer to recover from.

All but a few of the injuries would have involved recreational "backyard" trampolines, not those used by gymnasts, said Ms McMillan.

"I can just imagine it; a family occasion, a few drinks, a grandkid telling nana or granddad to 'come on, come on, get on with me'," she said.

"These older people probably aren't up to being on a trampoline. I'm 61 and I get on a trampoline because I know what I'm doing, but I'm still hesitant.

"If you're older it's just that much harder on your body, especially if you don't land right. It sounds like people just doing stupid things to me."

It was important to stick to the middle of the trampoline, to keep feet apart, to do a few warmup movements first and not have more than one person jumping at a time. Ideally, people should use a trampoline with a net around it, she said.

Alcohol and trampolines did not mix. "That's just asking for trouble".

Ms McMillan, who now coaches pilates, said she still enjoyed using a trampoline. "'I don't do the massive things I used to do, just gentle, easy stuff. It's very good for pelvic floor muscles, and for control balance." Fairfax NZ

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