Skydiving Health Risks

Friday, January 19, 2018

When you’re thinking about skydiving and the associated health risks, the key point to remember is this: Skydiving is a sport. It can be an intense one! The rule of thumb is to address the usual suspects (high blood pressure, glasses, age, weight, diabetes, bad back/neck/knee/ankle/spleen, etc.) in the athletic context. (Spoiler: Skydiving might not be as impossible as you’d think!)

It should go without saying that our advice here is not the advice of a doctor. We have, however, seen a lot in our time and travels, and we’re a pretty solid first stop for information: So, if you’ve got a special case you’d like to discuss, get in touch and a member of the team will be more than happy to help.

1. High Blood Pressure

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should know that nervous anxiety, paired up with the lower level of oxygen and the air pressure changes that occur on every skydive, can add up to a bad day. Even if you’re on prescription medication for your hypertension and your doctor considers it controlled, you should still check with your doctor before doing a tandem skydive.

2. Glasses

Lots of folks with glasses and contact lenses skydive regularly. We have goggles to protect your specs. No worries!

3. Age

In the United States, you have to be a card-carrying adult–18 and over, with a valid government-issued photo ID–to make a skydive. No exceptions. You can, however, be as far over 18 as you want. Healthy centenarians skydive all the time!

4. Weight

Carrying extra weight can be a drag–and, in the case of skydiving, it can quite literally keep you down. Because skydiving turns you into an integral component of an aircraft, weight figures very prominently in skydiving safety. In the same way, as you wouldn’t willingly get into a plane that you knew was overloaded beyond what it was designed to carry, you shouldn’t attempt to ride an overloaded parachute! Here’s a little more on skydiving weight restrictions.

5. Diabetes

Skydiving with diabetes is certainly not unheard of, but it requires far more management than we should really get into in this non-medical format. The best idea is to talk about it with other diabetic skydivers–which, of course, requires a (fun!) reconnaissance mission to the dropzone. For a really interesting intro to the subject, check out Dennis Adair’s story.

6. Bad [body part]

Done in the carefully variable-managed environment of a responsible dropzone (like ours!), skydiving is a remarkably gentle pursuit–but there’s always a risk of injury. By and large, landings are soft and freefall tweaks are minor and absolutely worth it. That said: Depending on the extent of your preexisting condition, you’d be best advised to open up a conversation with us.

The last thing we want is for you to walk away from your skydive with anything but an enormous grin on your face. To help make that your certain destiny, make sure to do your healthy homework first!