Forums: Skydiving: Instructors:
Need ideas on sky/tunnel coaching for a student with an injured leg.

 


tdog  (D 28800)

Mar 5, 2006, 9:09 PM
Post #1 of 1 (366 views)
Shortcut
Need ideas on sky/tunnel coaching for a student with an injured leg. Can't Post

This one is long...Crazy

So, I did a coach jump a few weeks back with a young, physically fit, energetic, female jumper...

Went well. I am happy that she got her A recently, purchased a rig, and is hooked on the sport.

Last night, she joined Alan and I for some RW tunnel coaching, along with a group of students... They split up 2 hours of time across 6 or so people, and everyone learned a lot... (Thanks Skyventure Colorado for staying open until 2AM to let us coach them.)

But this jumper gave me a run for my money, and I exhausted every drill in my bag of tricks...

She had broken her leg badly snowboarding last year and had the rods taken out in August. But after seeing her joyfully walk around the DZ, and walked a full flight of stairs without a bit of a limp at the tunnel, I never even thought to ask... It wasn't until half way thru the tunnel coaching session that I was made aware of the leg being broken. OOPS - rookie mistake to not ask about any body parts that are not 100%, but truly, this student looks like she could run a race and kick the average skydiver's butt, so I learned my lesson on that one (and she had no dislocation issues so the tunnel had no red flags either)

The most amazing thing happened in the tunnel... I saw the weirdest body position I had ever seen in the tunnel, that actually flew stable. Her whole torso was twisted 30 to 45 degrees laterally - and she was fighting very hard keeping from turning by ending up in this pretzel with one elbow at her side and the other arm way out front... This was accompanied by fall rate issues, forward and backward issues, and potato chipping when I tried to correct it... Eye contact was difficult because she was fighting the body position - and getting her to smile was, just, not going to happen... I was working so hard on the big picture issues, I could not see the minor details in her leg to know that was the root cause.

After a few 2 minute sessions, I asked Alan to give it a whirl.

Alan and I tried everything... Alan flew on the net with her, where her body position was good, but deteriorated the second it left the net.

I tried flying two ways with her, letting her feel flight without the nervousness of bouncing around the tunnel... Holding on to me for stability, we spent time just going up and down, and around and around. I could feel an intense pull on my left arm, so I threw in the spins in both directions hoping she could feel some balance.

Alan was the hero who, in flying two ways on the net, had her press her hands onto his palms and push. He felt there was no strength to one side...

So, we learned that her leg, after being badly broken, was not performing...

Why could she hold her own body weight standing on a bent leg, but not extend it in the tunnel??? I spent a skydive today analyzing how much pressure needed on my legs, and the force is light compared to running up a flight of stairs...

I started to believe that she is having a hard time feeling what that leg was doing... I think there are some physical therapy issues in retraining that leg... Nerve damages? Muscle issues? Something funky, but I know if her brain could tell the leg to extend, she would have the strength to do it...

The drill that seemed to fix the problem - somewhat... I went on my knees in the anti-chamber and had her look at me... Then I had her go backwards and forwards, a foot off the net, but instead of allowing her upper body to do any of the work, I had her hold her right wrist with her left hand, thus isolating her arms and elbows... Instead of pointing where I wanted her to go, I gave the signs for "legs out", "legs in"... This drill gave, finally the progress I was looking for, but it took 4 minutes of tunnel time to prove I was not crazy... She could keep her torso straight and move on the axis... I think it helped her "find" her leg... She was finally able to fly, and even turn, without crashing into the walls or net...

But, I am still wondering, what to do when you face a student who has some paralysis or disability in one leg??? The 20 minutes in Eloy, then the 20 minutes in Colorado's tunnel, cost a lot of money for this student... I just wish I could have given better results for the 20 minutes I coached, so we could have moved on at the pace of a "normal" situation...

I told her that she should take the DVD from the tunnel session to her physical therapist, because once we got the torso issues fixed and the upper body symmetrical, the leg issues become visible to the average viewer... The injured leg just could not move like the other, as if connected to her brain with a broken wire.

Ideas??? Wanting to learn...

Travis



Forums : Skydiving : Instructors

 


Search for (options)