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Tandem student injuries?

 

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normiss  (D 28356)

Sep 8, 2009, 8:50 AM
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Tandem student injuries? Can't Post

What sort have your students had, how did you feel about the injury, any changes to try to prevent those injuries in the future?


bclark  (D 22626)

Sep 8, 2009, 9:34 AM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
What sort have your students had?

One student injury early in my career. Broken tailbone. Primary cause was a late flare, secondary cause was my incorrect sliding landing technique.

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how did you feel about the injury?

Horrible. Still ashamed of it to this day. It was worse because I came in contact with the guy later, realized how long it took him to recover, and what an impact it had on his life.

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Changes to try to prevent those injuries in the future?

I learned correct technique for sliding landings. Many TI's (experienced and inexperienced) lift and fully extend their legs with their students in preparation for a slide. As the student naturally hangs slightly lower than the instructor, this allows the first point of contact with the earth to be the students ass. In the case of a late flare, or a vertical drop this exposes their tailbone and spine to possible injury.

I learned from this that my job as a TI is to meet the earth with my feet first. Seated in the harness, Instructors legs should be only slightly extended past the 90 degree position allowing the Instructor to take any impact with their feet. From this position the Instructor can stand, slide on his feet, or take a couple of steps (If appropriate) and still be prepared to settle into a slide if needs be.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 8, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not proud of it, but I have broken legs on three tandem students (out of 4,200 tandem jumps).
The first injury was my fault, a poorly-timed surge landing combined with a student digging her foot into a rut.
The second injury was also on desert hard-pan and the student admitted that she allowed her leg to dangle under her hip. When we sat down on her ankle, we broke it.
The third injury was similar, with me looking over her right shoulder on final approach. Her right leg was in the correct position, but she (admitted later) allowed her left leg to trail and it broke when she sat on it as we touched down.

Four solutions come to mind;
The first solution starts with adjusting the student harness in accordance with the Sigma manual. If you keep the hip junction at the front of the student's hips, it automatically lifts their feet for landing.
Use the same technique to adjust Strong student harnesses, just leave the Y-strap loose.

My second solution is to practice landings - at 3,000 feet) until students consistently keep their feet out in front. If students lack the stomach muscle to keep feet up and forward, I tell them to release the toggles and grab their knees.

A third solution is to monitor their feet on final approach. On numerous ocaissions, I have kicked students' feet out in front just before touch-down.

The fourth solution requires the DZO to invest money in re-lining or replacing the oldest, most tired canopies that flare like bag-locks!


Peej  (B 2456)

Sep 10, 2009, 2:58 AM
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Re: [riggerrob] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
My second solution is to practice landings - at 3,000 feet) until students consistently keep their feet out in front. If students lack the stomach muscle to keep feet up and forward, I tell them to release the toggles and grab their knees.

We've added loops to the knees of our jumpsuits to assist with the lifting of student's knees. Our TI's practice the landing under canopy and instruct the students to use them.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Sep 10, 2009, 1:14 PM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a 200 +/- lb guy show up wearing cheap imitation jump boots. We landed fast on a no wind day (Icarus canopy, loaded fairly heavy), with damp soil. One of his boot heals dug in enough to stop his foot while the rest of our 500 lbs continued. Broke his ankle. Our solution: We now do a better job of stressing to people the importance of wearing tenis shoes, NO BOOTS. We've taken students bare foot when they did not have appropriate shoes.

There have been a handful of compressed lower spines, and a broken coxes or two in the 2000 plus tandems I've done. Generally a bad landing due to wind conditions, not necessarily high winds but landing when a 15 or 20 mph guest goes to 5 or 10 right at flair time. Our solution: we try not to jump in "gusty" conditions, or when the wind is above 25 mph.

I witnessed a landing gone wrong last weekend. The instructor asked his heavy out of shape older woman student to bring her feet up for landing. She used the toggles to to pull her legs up causing them to lose air speed at 50'. Every one around was gritting their teeth as it was obvious they would land like a sack of potatoes, and they did. She had some compressions, and left in an ambulance. My solution: I started taking the toggles away from my students at 1000' within the first year of doing tandems due to this type of thing. It could be argued that more practice flairs would have helped, I know that this instructor does a few practice flares at altitude. Maybe some would argue that the additional danger is worth the training the student gets by helping with the toggles all the way down? Possibly the "additional training" is not relevant with someone such as this lady who unless she lost 50 plus lbs, and started working out regularly would never be a solo jump candidate?

On a humorous side, I had one student proclaim at opening "That hurt, I'm glad I didn't get bigger tits than I did!" The landing wasn't my best either, to which she said "That hurt my butt hole worse than anal sex!" I guess I wouldn't know on either point.

Martin


Andy9o8  (D License)

Sep 11, 2009, 4:50 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I had one student proclaim at opening "That hurt, I'm glad I didn't get bigger tits than I did!" The landing wasn't my best either, to which she said "That hurt my butt hole worse than anal sex!"

You did get her number, right?


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Sep 11, 2009, 5:30 AM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I had one student proclaim at opening "That hurt, I'm glad I didn't get bigger tits than I did!" The landing wasn't my best either, to which she said "That hurt my butt hole worse than anal sex!"

You did get her number, right?

Sure I did! But my wife said I couldn't go play with her.


normiss  (D 28356)

Sep 11, 2009, 7:17 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

So I asked these questions after having a student break an ankle. Tandem #683 and my second ankle.
Clearly in both cases, they failed to lift their legs and stated that as soon as they realized they were broke.
I do not allow most students to help me flair, too many don't have the timing and coordination to NOT pull toggles trying to leverage themselves to get their legs up.
We insist on tennis shoes, we have a collection of tennis shoes for them if they aren't wearing them when they show up.
I have kicked legs up just before touch down.
I go for the peas with the heavy ones.
I try to ensure I give them a jump suit with leg grippers so they can pull their knees up.
In my briefing, I tell them "if you don't lift your legs, we'll break something".
It just kills me to see someone hurt when I am in control of their jump.
No wind days are tough!
I will find a way to improve my landings. I don't want to break people!

thanks for the honesty guys, I know this is a sensitive subject for some!


douwanto  (D 23851)

Sep 12, 2009, 9:31 PM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

There has to be something missing in your approach to landings. 2 broken ankles in 700 tandems is not acceptable in my opinion. You should know what your student is going to be able to do before landing happens. I have had hundreds of passengers who could not or would not pick their feet up during landing. Not one has been injured. Flair a little high and use your feet and knees to absorb any shock. that is your job. While landing I start saying feet up feet up feet up until we come to a complete stop. I also share this thought with every passenger. " The only time I can not protect you from harm during your skydive is while we are landing. I am stopping the parachute and insuring our landing is soft and un eventful. If you chose to put your feet down during this time I will plant you like a tree and you WILL BREAK one or both legs. It has served me well for 4200+ tandems. Only once has a student folded their legs under. This was very early in my tandem career and I understood then how important legs up is.


douwanto  (D 23851)

Sep 12, 2009, 9:43 PM
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Re: [douwanto] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also if you have any concerns about the passengers ability to lift their legs for landing make them sit on the edge of something and lift their legs for 20 seconds. If they cant do this do not take them if you cant land them with their legs straight down. Remember as their Tandem Instructor You should be confident in your skills. I believe and tell every passenger they will walk away from our jump with great memories and no injuries.


iambeav2  (D 29842)

Sep 13, 2009, 5:01 PM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's funny you should ask...I have yet to injure any students...(knocks on wood) but just this weekend I had my first tandem injury to myself. Came in and my feet hit first so I could start the slide...but my left heel dug in a little hard when I hit a tuft of Crap Grass and it folded my leg/ankle sideways. We didn't land on it, but it was out to the side, so it's a little swollen and I'm hobbling but no breaks.


des  (F 372)

Sep 14, 2009, 2:04 AM
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Re: [douwanto] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

i believe there is alot of luck invoved with tandem injuries. over 8000 tandems and i can only remember 1 sprained ankle,and that was a stand up landing ,with a step to the side. but i remember some terrible landings i've done, and being surprised the student wasn't injured.i have seen plenty of landings, that looked fine,and somehow the student has managed to break a leg. imho it is very seldom the instructors fault, though it does take experience to automatically read the situation and adapt to what is required to protect self and student


johnny1488  (D 25453)

Sep 14, 2009, 6:27 AM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not trying to judge, just want to share some of my experience.

I run my rig (sigma) very long, it helps bring the students higher (ie further from the ground on landing). My chest strap is just below my throat, it's also a lot more comfortable on the plane.

Also proper harnessing goes a long way in how well a student can pick their feet up. Again, in sigma, following the upt adjustment guide makes it easy for even out of shape people to put their feet up. Also making sure you get your feet down on landing and leaning back can make up for almost any student shortcoming.


rhys  (D 95)

Sep 14, 2009, 9:53 AM
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Re: [normiss] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Touch wood, I have not even broken a nail on a student.

One time i tweaked my own knee lifting the legs of a young girl that didin't have the strength to do so herself.

Had it have been a sigma system, I believe it wouldn't have happened that way and would have been of no consequence.

I had over 2000 jumps when I obtained my rating, and I feel that is a major part of why I have had minimal problems when performing them. It is not that I am any better than anyone else, but in my opinion 500 jumps is simply not enough.


(This post was edited by rhys on Sep 14, 2009, 9:55 AM)


tonyhays  (D 26336)

Sep 15, 2009, 9:18 AM
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Re: [rhys] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I had over 2000 jumps when I obtained my rating, and I feel that is a major part of why I have had minimal problems when performing them. It is not that I am any better than anyone else, but in my opinion 500 jumps is simply not enough.

500 jumps is not near enough, IMO. I would like to see that requirement doubled.


peek  (D 8884)

Sep 15, 2009, 9:29 AM
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Re: [douwanto] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I also share this thought with every passenger. "The only time I can not protect you from harm during your skydive is while we are landing...."

I like that. I think it is completely appropriate to tell a student that I expect them to help assure their safety.


(This post was edited by peek on Sep 15, 2009, 9:29 AM)


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 15, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Re: [tonyhays] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
I had over 2000 jumps when I obtained my rating, and I feel that is a major part of why I have had minimal problems when performing them. It is not that I am any better than anyone else, but in my opinion 500 jumps is simply not enough.

500 jumps is not near enough, IMO. I would like to see that requirement doubled.

................................................................................................

Agreed!
But that is part of a larger economic debate, which starts with DZOs working their existing TIs to exhaustion then scraping the bottom of the barrel for a fresh crop of TIs. If they don't "harvest" enthusiastic young jumpers with three years experience and 500 jumps, DZOs risk loosing them forever.
Because - by the time they have 1000 jumps, many skydivers are too "wise" to risk life and limb with "200 pounds of stupid on the front and a pilot chute n tow."

The other economic factor is outside income. If a young jumper has an outside (Monday to Friday) job that pays well enough for AFF, new gear, and a thousand jumps, he is not economically desperate enough to sell his soul as a TI.


(This post was edited by riggerrob on Sep 15, 2009, 11:45 AM)


douwanto  (D 23851)

Sep 15, 2009, 1:00 PM
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Re: [des] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

" imho it is very seldom the instructors fault," If you believe this you should re think doing tandems.

It is always the instructors fault. That is why you see some instructors with few if any injuries and some with many injuries.

Yes it can happen to any of us and that is why we have to employee every technique in our arsenal to prevent injuries.

They are no more an acceptable part of doing tandems than forgetting a connection.

THATS MY 2 CENYS


Reaperwear  (D 29534)

Sep 15, 2009, 7:16 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a year old TI I was encouraged to get my rating right at 500 jumps. I am a conservative TI, I have yet to hurt anybody and hope I never do.(but I only have 200 Tandems) and I'm 42yo not 23yo and bullet proof. IMO the # of jumps a person has is only a small part of their qualification, I would like to see some sort of recommendation process or longer training an probation periods. I have learned so much since my rating course and still learning everyday. It seems that if you do 20 tandems without killing anybody your good to go. I know people with 300 jumps who would make great TI's and guys with 2000 or more jumps who I would never want to see with a human on the front of them. How do you quaifiy someones attitude and their ability to respond to emergencies, I don't think jump numbers are a real measure.


mnskydiver688  (D 30125)

Sep 15, 2009, 8:28 PM
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Re: [tonyhays] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Only a thousand? Why not make it 2000? In fact lets make it 6000. That way Darwin's theory has largely run its course and therefore the instructor should have luck on his/her side. Wait, the majority of jumpers killed are "extremely" experienced. Well that theory is blown to hell. But what do I know, I have the amount of jumps most full-time tandem instructors do in a few months.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 15, 2009, 9:45 PM
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Re: [Reaperwear] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

" ... IMO the # of jumps a person has is only a small part of their qualification, I would like to see some sort of recommendation process or longer training an probation periods. I have learned so much since my rating course and still learning everyday. It seems that if you do 20 tandems without killing anybody your good to go. I know people with 300 jumps who would make great TI's and guys with 2000 or more jumps who I would never want to see with a human on the front of them. How do you qualifiy someones attitude and their ability to respond to emergencies, I don't think jump numbers are a real measure. ..."

..............................................................................................

Yes, mere jump numbers are a crude measure of a skydiver's suitability to become an instructor.
Fortunately, there are a number of other subtle checks and balances in the TI training process.
Requiring three years experience skydiving measures endurance and attention span and eliminates the most dangerous.
Similarly, having to survive one reserve ride on your own also demonstrates solo survival skills.
The FAA medical process is supposed to eliminate those with severe psychological or drug problems. Yes, I know I guy who lost his FAA medical for being a compulsive liar.
Requiring another skydiving instructor rating adds an additional layer of legal distance for the certifying authority. "But some other organization already said that he is a good instructor."
There are many other subtle points that can only be "sensed" by the examiner while riding on the front of aspiring TIs.


Reaperwear  (D 29534)

Sep 17, 2009, 9:20 AM
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Re: [riggerrob] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
"Similarly, having to survive one reserve ride on your own also demonstrates solo survival skills."


When I took my course I was never asked about a reserve ride and never saw it listed as a requirement either. I have not gone back looked but I do not think it is a requirement anymore at least for UPT. let me know if I'm wrong ( I have had 3 reserve rides prior to my rating.)


douwanto  (D 23851)

Sep 17, 2009, 7:12 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

Having cut away does not mean one has deployed their reserve.... RSL is used by most these days and I have seen people go to the zoo and cut away a good canopy. Consistently performing as a safe skydiver along with time in the sport are both needed to develop the knowledge and understanding of body and canopy control and patients needed to be a safe Tandem Instructor. Someone who freaks out and starts doing the wrong thing is just as dangerous as someone who freezes.Pirate

TIE's are looking at every aspect of the candidates performance and challenges their skills to weed out the loose cannons.


(This post was edited by douwanto on Sep 17, 2009, 7:14 PM)


mnskydiver688  (D 30125)

Sep 17, 2009, 10:28 PM
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Re: [Reaperwear] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think he is referring to the requirement that to get a Strong rating you need a cutaway.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 18, 2009, 6:52 AM
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Re: [Reaperwear] Tandem student injuries? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
"Similarly, having to survive one reserve ride on your own also demonstrates solo survival skills."


When I took my course I was never asked about a reserve ride and never saw it listed as a requirement either. I have not gone back looked but I do not think it is a requirement anymore at least for UPT. let me know if I'm wrong ( I have had 3 reserve rides prior to my rating.)

.........................................................................

One solo reserve ride is a pre-level for aspiring Strong TIs. The goal is for aspiring TIS to prove that they can keep their cool and perform the correct drills while in a stressful situation, before being trusted with the lives of students.
You are correct in stating that it is not a pre-level for UPT, but it should be.

UPT and Strong are slowly converging with their tandem training programs.


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