Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
Jumping with a fused spine?

 


Audioillity

Feb 21, 2011, 3:50 PM
Post #1 of 14 (5278 views)
Shortcut
Jumping with a fused spine? Can't Post

Hi All,

I've tried to search the forum but haven't found a clear answer.

About 7 years ago I had spinal surgery for scoliosis 2 stage anterior and posterior surgery and have a part of my back fused with 2 rods.

I ask my surgen when I was under his care about my limitations how ever he was vague at best.

I've wanted to sky dive for as long as I can remember. Do any of you have or know someone who has a fused spine who SkyDives? I'm trying to make an informed decision before I look at doing my AFF.

I look forward to your replies.


stayhigh  (F 111)

Feb 22, 2011, 6:30 AM
Post #2 of 14 (5230 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

Friend of mine had cervical spine fusion, jumped over 300-400 times,
He had mal and choped and reserve opening broke his neck again.

if you can not take additional injury to spine or if you have existing shoulder dislocation history, then don't jump.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Feb 22, 2011, 8:24 AM
Post #3 of 14 (5217 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

Flexibility is one of the ways that the spine handles impact. By losing some flexibility you lose some impact tolerance.

Spinal stress is a part of skydiving:

1. The proper "arched" position may be a problem for you.

2. Canopy openings can be wicked hard without warning. I have a friend (not the one mentioned above) who is in a wheelchair from a hard opening due to a premature main container opening.

3. Skydivers can collide in freefall. Usually this isn't high impact... but sometimes it is.

4. Landings can be hard without warning.

Given that the risk is that you will harm your spinal cord with the attendant risk of permenant loss of function.... you REALLY need to discuss your SPECIFIC situation with your surgeon. Vague guidance from your surgeon doesn't cut it. Would your surgeon let you do competitive gymnastics with your spine situation? If not... skydiving may not be for you.

(I am not saying that skydiving is equivalent to gymnastics in all ways... just that the impacts from gymnastic landings give the doctor a frame of reference for thinking about you and skydiving. Most skydiving landings are soft and gentle... but some can be tough!)

Depending on your degree of flexibilty you may find simply getting in and out of the aircraft to be a challenge.

Good Luck... I hope to see you in the sky (if you have fully assesed and accepted the risk).


Audioillity

Feb 23, 2011, 11:17 AM
Post #4 of 14 (5169 views)
Shortcut
Re: [GLIDEANGLE] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies.

I'm no longer under the care of my surgeon, and havent been for over 5 years. It's not too easy to get an appointment with him either, even harder now!

Anyway I live a fairly active life, I regularly go rock climbing (Trad, Sports, Bouldering). I also like to go coasteering and scrambling. I'm shortly looking to start Surfing / KIte Surfing. I've also passed a medical to start scuba diving.

Further to the above I've flown many light aircraft. And from other situations shouldn't have a problem getting in/out of the aircraft. Generally flexibility isn't too much of a problem.

I guess my next step could be find a Doctor who has sky diving knowledge.


waveoff5500  (D 32087)

Mar 15, 2011, 11:15 AM
Post #5 of 14 (5072 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

i just had a microdiscectomy and ridestrong who is a PA for spinal surgery gave me some good advice so try pm'ing him he might be able to give you some advice. goodluck!


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 15, 2011, 9:15 PM
Post #6 of 14 (5048 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

Two weeks ago was the 17th anniversary of my spinal fusion...I have L-1 through L-5 fused and carry 2 of the largest rods made and 6 screws.

I've been an active jumper since 1976, 'averaging' a little over 100 jumps a year...but in truth I make a lot more now than I use to, more disposable time & money. Wink

I took a year off from jumping following surgery, (actually 364 days) but did the PT stuff above and beyond what was recommended.
I knew I would return to skydiving, but was open to possible limitations if need be...took it slow the first 5-6 months making one or two jumps every other weekend. But never experiencing problems of any sort, I kinda cleared myself back to 'regular' status...even got a Tandem Rating and did that stuff for several years.

One thing you seriously need to think about is the fact you do have the additional steel in there. A severe impact from landing or a free-fall collision could very possibly complicate the situation with an extremely negative result.

My doc put it this way...a trauma that someone else may walk away from 'could' paralyze me, or worse.

But as with many things in life, it's an odds game.

I feel that if I jump conservatively regarding what I use, and who with...there is less chance of thumpin' myself.

I started getting uneasy about the occasional slide in landings necessary with Tandems at times, so I quit doing tandems.

I don't jump a small canopy or on really windy days etc.

I'm no 'health nut' but do the things necessary to keep my weight within comfortable limits and my muscles stretched out and 1/2 way strong...just trying put to those 'odds' another point or two in my favor.

I love the sport and it's a no brain-er to do the things necessary to be able to participate...that being said, if I ever dinged up my spine again to the point of requiring another surgery or even hospital care, I would walk away for good.

It's a serious and personal decision...it's worth it to me, may not be for you. Nothing wrong with that, you no doubt have more years ahead than I do... a 'possible quality of life' factor probably has a considerable range of variable between you and I.

I'd urge you to be informed and logical on the decision of whether to or not jump, and think possible long term consequences. . . remember, it's a fantastic sport/hobby/pass time...but it IS and elective and NOT required for graduation! Wink


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Mar 16, 2011, 6:23 AM
Post #7 of 14 (5031 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm 10 years out from having L4-S1 fused due to disc issues. No hardware. After a year of letting it heal, I got back in the air and have done 400 or so more jumps since. My surgeon had no issues with me jumping post-recovery; he just wanted to be sure the fusion had taken well and there was new bone growth first.

Is there an increased risk of injury for someone with a fusion compared to someone without? Probably. Only you can decide if the rewards of jumping are worth the risks you are taking.

I know many others who have had spinal fusions (lower back and neck), most with hardware, and have either gotten back into the air or starting jumping post-surgery, so it's not unusual.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 17, 2011, 11:50 AM
Post #8 of 14 (5004 views)
Shortcut
Re: [skybytch] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm 10 years out from having L4-S1 fused due to disc issues. No hardware. After a year of letting it heal, I got back in the air and have done 400 or so more jumps since. My surgeon had no issues with me jumping post-recovery; he just wanted to be sure the fusion had taken well and there was new bone growth first.

Is there an increased risk of injury for someone with a fusion compared to someone without? Probably. Only you can decide if the rewards of jumping are worth the risks you are taking.

I know many others who have had spinal fusions (lower back and neck), most with hardware, and have either gotten back into the air or starting jumping post-surgery, so it's not unusual.


I was told the fused area is stronger than areas not, and the 'real' concern was the hardware ripping up stuff in case of a severe trauma to the area. My doc and I discussed removing the hardware after a year of rehab, but I didn't want to do that.


david3  (D 21297)

Mar 17, 2011, 4:49 PM
Post #9 of 14 (4995 views)
Shortcut
Re: [airtwardo] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I'm 10 years out from having L4-S1 fused due to disc issues. No hardware. After a year of letting it heal, I got back in the air and have done 400 or so more jumps since. My surgeon had no issues with me jumping post-recovery; he just wanted to be sure the fusion had taken well and there was new bone growth first.

Is there an increased risk of injury for someone with a fusion compared to someone without? Probably. Only you can decide if the rewards of jumping are worth the risks you are taking.

I know many others who have had spinal fusions (lower back and neck), most with hardware, and have either gotten back into the air or starting jumping post-surgery, so it's not unusual.


I was told the fused area is stronger than areas not, and the 'real' concern was the hardware ripping up stuff in case of a severe trauma to the area. My doc and I discussed removing the hardware after a year of rehab, but I didn't want to do that.

I was also told the fused area would be stronger. I would loose flexibility though. No hardware so no worries about ripping it out.


VideoFly  (D 25621)

Mar 17, 2011, 7:24 PM
Post #10 of 14 (4990 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Audioillity] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a double discectomy and double laminectomy on my lower back (L4, L5, S1) 18 years ago and have jumped 1,500 times since then. Over the past ten years, jumping with a good arch has been the best activity to fight chronic back and leg pain. Almost two years ago, I broke my neck on a hard opening with cameras on my head and needed to have a T5-T7 fusion with a hip implant and titanium plate. I have had to slow down with my jumping and stop flying with cameras altogether. Now, when I jump, my left hand and arm paralysis get a little worse, so I limit my jump numbers. It is hard to say how jumping might affect your back because opening and landing impacts tend to vary and may at times, be extreme. You might want to speak with a competent sports doctor who will not immediately tell you that skydiving is stupid for anyone to do. My neurosurgeon, who worked on my neck, did so with the understanding that she was trying to get me back in the sport. I guess all-in-all, skydiving is a potentially hazardous sport and your previous injury may or may not impact on your overall health. For me, the joy of skydiving outweighs other concerns and for the most part, I find the physical affects to be minimal.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 19, 2011, 7:17 AM
Post #11 of 14 (4975 views)
Shortcut
Re: [david3] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
I'm 10 years out from having L4-S1 fused due to disc issues. No hardware. After a year of letting it heal, I got back in the air and have done 400 or so more jumps since. My surgeon had no issues with me jumping post-recovery; he just wanted to be sure the fusion had taken well and there was new bone growth first.

Is there an increased risk of injury for someone with a fusion compared to someone without? Probably. Only you can decide if the rewards of jumping are worth the risks you are taking.

I know many others who have had spinal fusions (lower back and neck), most with hardware, and have either gotten back into the air or starting jumping post-surgery, so it's not unusual.


I was told the fused area is stronger than areas not, and the 'real' concern was the hardware ripping up stuff in case of a severe trauma to the area. My doc and I discussed removing the hardware after a year of rehab, but I didn't want to do that.

I was also told the fused area would be stronger. I would loose flexibility though. No hardware so no worries about ripping it out.



The flexibility thing is a relative issue, I've been in martial arts most of my life and have always worked daily at being flexible.

If an old fart like me can lock knees, bend at the waist and flat palm both hands on the ground, my spine is quite flexible even with the bottom 1/4 one solid piece. Wink


PiLFy  (A License)

Mar 19, 2011, 11:52 AM
Post #12 of 14 (4972 views)
Shortcut
Re: [airtwardo] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

"If an old fart like me can lock knees, bend at the waist and flat palm both hands on the ground, my spine is quite flexible even with the bottom 1/4 one solid piece. Wink"

Yeah, but can you get back upAngelicTongue?

The fused areas are stronger. That makes the adjoining areas more vulnerable to injury. The above mentioned move would put a lot of stress on T12-L1. You're a big guy, Jim. I hope you don't do that move often.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 19, 2011, 12:43 PM
Post #13 of 14 (4970 views)
Shortcut
Re: [PiLFy] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
"If an old fart like me can lock knees, bend at the waist and flat palm both hands on the ground, my spine is quite flexible even with the bottom 1/4 one solid piece. Wink"

Yeah, but can you get back upAngelicTongue?

The fused areas are stronger. That makes the adjoining areas more vulnerable to injury. The above mentioned move would put a lot of stress on T12-L1. You're a big guy, Jim. I hope you don't do that move often.


Every day! Angelic

I stretch at least 20 minutes every day, something to do when watching the news in the morning...flexibility is one key to lessening potential injury from contact sports. I've always worked toward maximizing my rubber joints.

Dale Stuart the freestyle pioneer was doing a stretching routine in the Otter on the way up once, I put my foot up behind my head and told her...story of my life ~ two inches away from the best blow job ever! Wink

I also believe that doing Ab work also helps keep the back in good shape, when I was doing Tandems I'd start getting sore later in the day at times, crunches seemed to cure that up pretty quick.


PiLFy  (A License)

Mar 20, 2011, 5:16 AM
Post #14 of 14 (4958 views)
Shortcut
Re: [airtwardo] Jumping with a fused spine? [In reply to] Can't Post

You do flat palms on the ground every day? Is that w/your Doctor's blessing? I'm not trying to argue w/you, Jim. I know you understand the changes that occur w/your type of injury. I'm only concerned you may have forgotten about the increased stress placed on adjoining areas following a fusion procedure.

As for this: "I put my foot up behind my head and told her...story of my life ~ two inches away from the best blow job ever!" I guess it's too early for me. Wha_Huh???



Forums : Community : Skydivers with Disabilities

 


Search for (options)