Skydiving isn’t a dangerous sport… right? A lot of people think they are invincible when it comes to injuries -- you’ve all heard the famous “it’ll never happen to me” line. Well, it can, and eventually, it will. Whether it’s an injury that will take you out of the sport for a while, or an injury that will make you more cautious… they come in many varieties.
I haven’t had any serious injuries when it comes to jumping. I have bounced my face off the ground once (full face helmet saved me), rolled an ankle or two and a few scrapes and bruises. In the end, it has all has worked out well. However, I’ve had an injury in my wrist that has been ongoing since 2010.
My wrist injury has survived 2 surgeries, injections, and therapy, and was managing to still go strong. So what ended up happening with my wrist?
In 2010, I tore my TFCC in my right wrist. In 2013, I had surgery, only for it to tear immediately after the removing of the cast. In 2015, I went back and had the same surgery… only for it to tear a year later. In 2016. I waited out surgery again, as this was when I got into skydiving, because I didn’t want to miss the season. Skydiving didn’t cause my original injury but it was there when I started.
We only get to jump May-the end of Sep here in Alaska (Eye roll). When we finished the Alaska season in Sep 2017, I traveled to Arizona then Coastal Carolinas and then Z-Hills. In the process, I got my C license.
In order to ensure I can keep skydiving, I needed surgery. That surgery happened on Nov 30th, 2017. I had 3mm of my Ulna bone removed, and since the tear is in the middle of my TFCC, its non-repairable, so the surgeon “cleaned it up” to prevent further tearing. So, all of December, and January, I was decommissioned from jumping, and flying in the tunnel.
Despite not being cleared to jump in the tunnel in Feb, I did -- it was my birthday and I felt fine. We made a tunnel trip to Kapowsin in WA, in hopes that we may be able to get to jump too. I only ended up doing like 25 minutes in the tunnel, and one skydive… since it seems the weather follows me everywhere I go. I believe the locals in Seattle said it hadn’t snowed all year or BARELY snowed... and of course, I come from Alaska to make a jump, and we drive through a damn blizzard to get there (Eye roll again).
My jump went fine -- cold, but good. The tunnel was very fun. I realized in the process how out of shape I am. All in all, the flying was good -- except for the flight back to Alaska. That was depressing as my jumcation was coming to an end.
Recovery involved not only getting my body back but my skills, my currency, and my comfort being in the air. I needed to be super careful as injuring my wrist again can take me out longer. One mistake could be life-threatening and small mistakes could of lead to me being taken out again. Skydiving is not a forgiving sport. It is for this reason that I had an instructor continuously drilled me with making sure I was good to jump. If I wasn’t 100%, I wasn’t going to do it.
Point being in all of this, injuries can happen from skydiving, and injuries that occurred from non-skydiving related events can affect your ability to fly, or control your canopy. Coming back from an injury isn’t something that should be rushed or taken lightly. Take your time, don’t rush it, and most importantly make sure you really test your ability to perform under pressure.
I am good now and looking forward to a great coming season! I will see you all in the sky!