Jumping insurance costs lead to trampoline restrictions at Alberta gymnastics centres

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WATCH: Escalating insurance costs due to trampoline injuries has led to new rules for the Alberta Gymnastics Federation. More than 80 clubs across the province have banned recreational trampoline use. Kevin Smith has more – Sep 18, 2018

Altadore Gymnastics Club coach Derek Hanson has been involved in the sport his entire life. This summer his club was forced to make rule changes more drastic than he’s ever seen in the industry.

“I had heard premiums might be going up,” Hanson said. “To have certain categories of our programming not being able to use the trampoline was a big shock.”

The Alberta Gymnastics Federation sent an email to all 84 provincial member clubs this summer outlining new operating rules. Signs are now posted at all clubs outlining the ban of recreational trampoline use.

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Due to new insurance regulations, only competitive athletes and those enrolled in trampoline and tumbling classes can use the trampolines.

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They are no longer allowed to be used for recreational classes, camps, birthdays or drop-ins.

New signs at the Altadore Gymnastics Club in Calgary outline trampoline restrictions. Sept. 18, 2018. Global News

Altadore Gymnastics Club general manager Shannon Hilton said the new rules are a game changer for member clubs like hers.

“It used to be that anybody could come in and use any apparatus in the gym,” Hilton said. “Now we have to have signs posted everywhere and rules and coaches kicking people off the trampolines so it’s had a big impact for sure.”

Recreational users must also use an inflated air-track instead of the tumbling track.

Despite the changes, Hilton said classes are always available for kids who love trampoline.

“I do have parents who walk into my office and say, ‘My kids just want the trampoline,'” Hilton said. “We do have classes for that and we find that the families still come because the foam pits are a huge draw for the little kids. It’s the teenagers who miss the trampolines so we’re down about 15 per cent in revenue for this month alone.”

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Alberta is the first province to see these rule changes. Bobby Kriangkum of the Alberta Gymnastics Federation said this is a sign of the times and they are setting the template for other provinces to follow.

“It’s always easier to point out negatives than positives,” he said. “The first reaction is, ‘My goodness, now we can’t go on trampolines.'”

“Instead of doing their 10-minute trampoline rotation and then 40 minutes of other gymnastics, if they truly just want to do trampoline, then they can do an hour class of trampoline and it’s way more fun.”

In a statement, Toole Peet and Co. Limited, who provide insurance coverage for the Alberta Gymnastics Federation, said recent trampoline injuries have caused instability in the insurance marketplace.

“When we look at the Alberta Gymnastics Federation programs, the profitability has drastically worsened over the years predominantly due to significant trampoline injuries. As a result, the Alberta Gymnastics Federation has been affected by both rate increase as well as coverage limitations,” the statement reads.

As for the Altadore Gymnastics Club, Hanson said they are adapting to the changes and hope kids still get excited to try trampoline.

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“If a kid comes to a birthday party we hope we at our club have enough things for the kids to enjoy and have fun,” Hanson said. “We hope they see the trampolines on the other side and want to enrol in one of our specific trampoline classes.”

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