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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The curious case of Joba Chamberlain and the trampoline

Squawker Jon called me yesterday to tell me the news of Joba Chamberlain suffering an open dislocation on an ankle due to jumping on a trampoline. This was the second Friday in a row with shocking news -- last week, of course, was Andy Pettitte's return. But this week's news, of course, is really awful.

First of all, I hope Chamberlain makes a full recovery -- it sounds like a horrible, gruesome injury, and he reportedly lost a lot of blood. And what a terrible thing for his young son to see. Ankle injuries are serious stuff -- it's taken nearly two years for Kendrys Morales to recover from busting up his ankle. Joba's got a long haul ahead of him, that's for sure.

That being said, I know I will get some grief for this, but I have to wonder what the heck he was thinking here. Any time you engage in a physical activity, it's a risk, especially when you are a professional ballplayer who is paid based on being able to perform physical tasks, which is why the Yanks ban so much off-season physical activities, including pickup basketball, as Aaron Boone learned. (If I ran the Yankees, I would ban players from doing anything more strenuous in their free time than tiddlywinks and Monopoly, but that's me!)

Anyhow, given that Joba is recovering from Tommy John surgery, you would think that he would think, if nothing else, that if he were to stumble on the trampoline, that he could mess up his arm again. In addition, according to Daily News columnist Bill Madden, Joba had been "explicitly told by the Yankee trainers not to engage in any sort of physical activity that would potentially put his arm in harm’s way."

And trampolines are more dangerous than you might think. Did you know that a lot of homeowners' insurance companies will not cover you if you have a trampoline? They are that dangerous. As the Bleeding Yankee Blue blog pointed out, a lot of people -- over one hundred thousand in 2006 -- get hurt jumping on trampolines. And, as I discovered today, a few people have even died from using trampolines.

In addition, I did some research on Tampa play centers that have trampolines. We do not know as of yet which place Chamberlain went to with his son, but I found information on two big trampoline centers in Tampa --AirHeads Trampoline Arena and Boing! Jump Center. And at both places, you have to sign waivers detailing all the risks you potentially face at their facilities. Here is just some of what the two-page AirHeads waiver says:
All participants acknowledge that participation in ATA trampoline games or activities entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to myself, my child, to property or to third parties.  I understand that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity. The risks include, but are not limited to: Slipping and falling, collision with fixed objects or people, injuries that include: sprains, fractures, scrapes, bruises, cuts, dislocations, pinched fingers, and serious injuries to the head, back or neck; the negligence of other participants, myself, or my child; my own or my child’s physical condition; physical contact with others; and failure to warn of an inherent risk.  
The Boing! waiver says, in part, that:

Such risks could result in, but not be limited to, damage and/or injury to myself, to property, and/or to third parties and/or entities, including, but not limited to: loss of property, loss of balance, fatigue, dizziness, paralysis, quadriplegia, death, and/or physical and/or emotional injuries, including, but not limited to, sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions, fractures, scrapes, bumps, bruises, cuts, lacerations, soft tissue damage, dislocations, pinched fingers and/or nerves, and/or serious, crippling and/or disabling injuries to the face, arms, hands, legs, feet, head, back, shoulders, spine, spinal cord, neck, internal body parts and/or any other body parts.

So, if Joba went to either of these places or to another other trampoline facility, chances are extremely likely that he would have had to sign such a waiver. Why didn't it occur to him, when signing a waiver saying about how you could potentially die or become a quadriplegic from jumping on a trampoline, that perhaps it wasn't the greatest idea in the world to do so?

I have heard people defend Chamberlain for going to a play center, suggesting that he was just being a good dad with his son. Yet he could have just let his son jump on the trampoline, or picked a less dangerous activity to do with his son for that day instead. You can think I'm too judgmental if you want, but I can't get past why an injury-ridden ballplayer recovering from surgery would think that jumping on a trampoline would be a wise decision. This isn't like getting injured by riding the Dumbo kiddie ride at Walt Disney World, after all.

So, I hope Joba fully recovers from the ankle dislocation. But I also hope that he starts taking things more seriously. As much as I think the Derek Jeter worship in this town is over the top, I do appreciate that Derek has always taken care of himself and stayed out of situations that could jeopardize his health and his career. It might do Joba some good to think to himself once in a while, "What would Derek Jeter do?"

What do you think about Joba Chamberlain? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

The Mighty Casey said...

this is great! I forgot about Kendrys Morales, great addition to the piece and I love the research and the waivers information!! Terrific. BRAVO!