Kim Holman of Provo was no stranger to jump gyms. For the past six months he had repeatedly taken his kids to play at trampoline gyms.

But over the past weekend, his trip ended in severe injury.

On Monday, the Utah County Health Department board will consider regulating jump gyms after doctors have decried a flood of related injuries. Holman said he wanted to share his story to illustrate the potential for a few hours of bouncy fun to turn into something no fun at all.

"I have been taking my kids there maybe once a month for the past six months," Holman said of an Orem jump gym. "They wanted to go jump with friends. I've been jumping a half-dozen times with them. We were jumping from a platform while on a trampoline, dunking a basketball."

The game involved bouncing across three trampolines before dunking a basketball in a hoop. But this time, when Holman landed, his knee ruptured. He had totally torn two tendons and dislocated his tibia.

The tendons were so badly torn that they "coiled up and retracted into the upper thigh," he said. "I went through extensive surgery on Monday. My orthopedic surgeon said it was the worst quadricep tear he had ever seen. He said it was catastrophic."

It is expected to take a full year before he walks normally again.

"I should have a full recovery," he said. "It is just a matter of time."

Holman is a fit man. He works out at a local gym every day, and he is an avid hockey player. He owns a firefighting supply company and travels the world for business; he has no health insurance.

"We don't carry health insurance because my son has an irregular heart condition and the monthly premium is $1,800," he said.

Instead of paying that premium, the family has been putting $1,800 a month into a medical savings fund. So far, the bills for his injury have topped $12,000. He says he will request that the jump gym pay his medical bills.

He and his kids will not be going back.

"Our kids are done going there," he said. "You don't really realize how dangerous they are until something like this happens. Some changes need to be made."

The jump gym did not seem to have a plan for a major injury on the premise, and the only staffers around were in their early twenties. The staffers had to carry him off the trampolines.

"There was no procedure on how to handle what happened to me," he said. "These kids were trying to carry me off the trampoline."

His kids all play competitive soccer, with two already hoping to play in college. An injury like his would end their potential athletic careers.

"To have them go through an injury like this would devastate them," he said.

Holman's friend, Tyler Bergen, said the injury is likely to alter Holman's life.

"He is a successful business owner and a very active outdoorsman with his family, along with being a high school soccer coach, and athlete in hockey leagues and soccer leagues," Bergen said. "His life may never be the same again."

Another friend, Janene Lay, of Highland, was with Holman and her own five children when the accident happened. She's not sure what kind of county regulations might help.

"I've never seen anything like that before," she said of his injury.

She said she grew up jumping and bouncing, an active child, and that activity is important for children, so she is not sure how she feels about potential new regulations for jump gyms.

Will her own kids be allowed to go back?

"I don't know if I will take the kids back," she said. "That is a good question. Accidents happen, no matter where you are or what you are doing. I think a lot of people need to be more aware of the risk they take when they are in a place like that."

Doctors have been seeing serious compound fractures and concussions occurring while kids are at local jump gyms, Lance Madigan of the Utah County Health Department has said. After grappling with the issue for a couple of months, health officials are set to take it on again on Monday. If they like a set of proposed regulations, the public will get to speak their mind in September. The health board could also ask for more revisions, which would delay public comment and action.

caleb-warnock
-- Caleb Warnock covers 11 cities in north Utah County and is also the Daily Herald's environmental reporter. You can find him on Facebook and at calebwarnock.blogspot.com.
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