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The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that trampolines not be used in competitive sport and that they be banned from physical education programs in schools and colleges. Citing a survey of high school and college sports injuries for 1973-75, the academy found nine cases of permanent paralysis caused by spinal-cord injuries suffered on the trampoline and 25 cases of temporary paralysis. Dr. Harvey Kravitz, a Chicago pediatrician who drafted the academy report, surveyed schools in his area in 1975 and found five additional cases of permanent paralysis.
According to Dr. Kravitz, paralysis occurs after improperly executed back flips or somersaults when "the head is forced forward against the chest and the spinal cord is pulled or torn." He stresses that this type of injury occurs on the trampoline, not from falling off it, and no number of spotters can prevent it. "It's just plain logic to ban it," Dr. Kravitz says. "We've all but conquered paralytic polio in this country, and what's the point of immunizing against one crippler if we permit our children to risk paralysis as the result of trampoline accidents?"
David Fry, of the Illinois High School Association, says that the trampoline has been dropped as a boys' gymnastic event in the 1977-78 state tournament. "This doesn't mean we are telling schools to ban the trampoline," says Fry, "but certainly dropping it as a competitive event in the state does not encourage it."
PANS FANS' PLANS
Columnist Mike Royko, of the Chicago Daily News, doesn't think much of the plans of FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation's Sports), Ralph Nader's new consumer group formed to combat cold hot dogs, warm beer, unpopular trades and high ticket prices. Royko writes, "Apparently Nader doesn't understand what the average sports fan really wants, and what upsets him if he doesn't get it. It isn't a gourmet hot dog or parking space or a cheap ticket. What he wants is victory.
"Fans don't riot because there isn't enough mustard on the hot dog. They don't pelt opposing players with garbage because they couldn't find a place to park. They don't toss bottles at officials and threaten to tear the joint apart because they think ticket prices are too high. But they have done all those things when their favorite team has lost.
"So if Nader wants to make sports consumers happy, he has to think of a way to play the games so that there will not be any losers."