Feb 28, 2012, 8:51 PM
Post #1 of 30
So I'm wanting to start my AFF, but I have one concern and that is that I have dislocated my shoulder about 5 times. I haven't done it for awhile but there are certain posistions where I feel like it could come out. I really want to fly more than anything and I would hate it if I couldn't due to this. Any feed back would be great. Thank you so much
Which shoulder? If its your right shoulder, it could be a concern. You have to be able to reach back and pull the pilot chute out. I have seen people with right shoulder/arm problems switch to a left side pull-out deploy configuration so they can use their good arm instead. Something to think about.
Its my left shoulder. Like I said I really want to do this more than anything. And thank you so much for your reply.
You'll definitely want to practice in a hanging harness and see if you can reach all handles without a problem, possibly even a little time in a wind tunnel with a coach to see how your shoulder does in the air stream.
Skydivers have dislocated their shoulders doing things you wouldn't think twice about, like chunking an exit (2 or more people holding grips), or a dive going to shit somewhere along the way... I came close once, on a night jump where the guy on my right, ended up on my left after exit. There's some cartilage damage in there that I can still feel 9 years later.
Hi Patrick, Sorry to read about your shoulder. Once you dislocate your shoulder. You have an instability that makes a second dislocation more likely. You've had five... Is there a wind tunnel near you to try? If your shoulder is too unstable. It's better to find out that way, than @13K feet.
Have you worked w/a Physical Therapist to strengthen the joint? What did your Ortho say? It all depends on where your tear(s) are. I have a bad shoulder, but (throws salt over shoulder) so far have been OK. Someone I trained with needed surgery for it.
If you're comfortable asking your Doctor about this. He can give you a more informed answer than we can. It would be great for you to get to a tunnel & see what's required of your shoulder in freefall. It would be a help to you for AFF, as well. So, the money would be well-spent. There are some things you can do to protect it. You'll learn to protect yourself during linked exits. You won't do any hanging exits (wing strut or Skyvan door). If you haven't, already. You'll learn how to safely strengthen your shoulder by a PT.
I hope you can join us without your shoulder getting in the way. PM me if you like. Good Luck.
The tunnel will not be a reasonable gauge of how well your shoulder will hold up. If it's been out 5 times, it's going to come out again at some point if you skydive. It will suck no matter what. If it goes out in freefall, it will most likely happen exiting the plane, or goofing off with friends who don't give your arm a second thought. You still have to get under a canopy at some point and then figure out how to steer and land the parachute with one hand.
I'm an AFF instructor and most likely I wouldn't take you if I knew how unstable your shoulder is. It's a disservice to knowingly take someone up with a known injury.
Click on shoulder and check out all the cool fixes that can be done. A labral tear is fixable. You must let it rest for 3 months. A full 3 months of doing nothing. Just 3. Then you can rehab it all you want.
You'll be back in action in less than half a year of your life.
Other fixes take less time. If you have the means, do it now and get it over with. If you wait, it will be dangerous and likely just get worse until you age another 20 years..... and you don't dislocate it for at least the last 10.
Yeah I know, that was a bundle of joy I just spread but it's pretty much reality.
Some types of instability can be held in with a brace. But you have to actually know what works and none of the ones you find online actually work.
I hope you'll get it fixed and I hope you don't try to skydive with a known unstable shoulder.
Thank you for your post. It surely wasn't a bundle of joy :) but like you said it's reality. My last dislocation happend about 2 years ago, but I'm more then certain there is a fair amount of instability. So I'm going to look into surgery and hopefully make this happen sooner than later. I want to do this more than anything. I've never had a drive like this in my life. So whatever it takes. Once again thank you. Maybe one day I'll see you in the sky.
Thanks for your post. I appreciate all the info. Well I'm located in Oregon. So the closest wind tunnel is in Seattle or in San Francisco. Little out of my way but I'm willing to do anything. I've obvioiusly never done this so I dont really know what you mean by hanging exit or skyvan and what not, but I trust you by probably not being able to do that. I'm going to look into getting surgery and deal with the lost time but hopefully after that I will be good to go. I've said this many times but I will say it again. I want to do this more than anything I've never had a passion like this in my life so this is what I want to do and what I'm going to do. Thank you once again
About 3 years ago I dislocated my left shoulder in a skiing accident in February. I had surgery to repair it and was back to jumping about 3 months later. I had about 3000 jumps at the time. That June during the last 2 days of an AFF instructor course I tore it again on a jump but it did not come all the way out. I was able to open and although it was difficult I managed to land without incident. I had a second surgery a few days later to repair the tear. My doc basically said I should not jump anymore because of the risk it might come out on a jump if I re-injured it. I have made over 1000 jumps since then but I have made some modifications in the types of jumps I make. I mostly shoot video now, but on fun jumps I make sure no one is taking grips on my left arm. If I launch something I do the grabbing so I can let go if there is tension, more than once I have had to slap someone if they try to grab my left arm. I have made one modification on my gear and started jumping with an AAD, also I practice steering and flaring with just my right arm in case I find myself unable to use my left arm. I up-sized to larger reserves so if need be I can leave the brakes stowed, steer with the rear risers, and plf. Much of this probably won't mean much to you but the point I am trying to make is with certain accommodations I believe you can still jump. I had a major advantage because I was already an experienced skydiver. You being a student will have a much tougher time if you were to lose function of your left arm on a jump.
First of all, you have to get it fixed before you even consider jumping. Surgery is no fun but I would not consider training you as a student until you have it repaired. It really is amazing what they can do these days. Second, you have to be up front and honest with your instructors. And last you have to have a contingency plan for what to do if you lose function on your left arm.
Bob Daughs over at Central Oregon Skysports trained a guy a few years back that only had one arm. He modified a rig so it could be steered and landed with just a right arm. Also the cutaway and reserve were all on one handle (SOS system) You might give him a call. If some one with only one arm can learn to skydive then I believe someone with a repaired shoulder certainly should be able to.
In short you are not alone, other jumpers have overcome this injury but since you are just starting out it will be even more difficult. Good luck!
You're welcome. I hope it works out for you. Not all tears can be easily fixed. Not all tears should be operated on. Some require several months to a year of disability. You didn't say what position or force pops your shoulder out. You may or may not be able to cope without surgery. My shoulder Doc is the top Ortho for an NBA team. I was advised not to have surgery on my two tears. Talk to your Doctor. He's the only one here who has seen your scans. He'll be able to give you the best opinion on this. Good Luck.
(This post was edited by PiLFy on Mar 1, 2012, 2:42 PM)
I'll chime in to say that I too had multiple dislocations, and each time it came out more easily (by the 4th time, my shoulder would come out in freefall - no grips needed, just through air pressure) - It's so worth getting it fixed. I had surgery (Bankart repair) and PT for a few months, and now my repaired shoulder is stronger and more secure than my uninjured one. Left OR right, repeatedly landing a parachute with both toggles in one hand is NOT a lot of fun.
It won't keep you from jumping - if you take the time to get it healthy to jump. After PT I tested it in the tunnel and on a tandem (enough strength to pull) - and was confident.
No problem, after I dislocated my shoulder I posted on this board asking for advice and I was flooded with responses. Mostly from experienced jumpers who have lived through it and continued to jump. It is a fairly common injury and many jumpers have gone through this. As I am sure you know there are many different degrees of severity concerning shoulder injuries and no two people are the same. To be honest I don't know the details of your injury and what may work for me may not work for you. Maybe the surgery and rehab are not worth it, maybe it is. It is really hard to get a fair assessment from some doctors. When I blew my ACL 20 some years ago my orthopedic surgeon said I would have full recovery and be back to skiing with no restrictions the next winter. But when I asked him about skydiving he said no way, and something about a perfectly good airplane. Skydiving has become more mainstream over the years but to some folks it is still taboo and considered "crazy" So just because a doc says you shouldn't do it does not mean you can't. For you learning a challenging sport like this will be even tougher than someone with two good shoulders, but that does not mean it can't be done. I tell all my students that skydiving is mostly between the ears. I just broke my leg (skiing again) in January and now after surgery I am going through some real tough rehab and therapy but I am determined to be jumping by late spring. I refuse to let an injury keep me from doing what I love.
PS it is a short flight from Portland to Salt lake and we have a very nice wind tunnel here in Utah. Learning the correct body position can help a lot in your student training and make things much easier. It is also a real short trip to Seattle from Portland. You did not say have you jumped before at all? A tandem jump might be just the thing to do to see if this is what you really want to do.
I've dislocated my left shoulder skydiving. After skydiving with this instability, I found myself dislocating it again while skydiving and during other activities. Being that skydiving is a contact sport, I suggest getting your shoulder fixed by a good surgeon. Otherwise, it just gets worse. You need to be 100% for this sport. Your life depends on it.
Thank you for the reply. I'm going this saturday to the doctors and see what we can do. I will keep everyone up to date, as far as what is going on. Hopefully it will be fixed soon because I want to do this so bad. Thanks again
Good on ya. I'm also an AFF instructor and will echo what Tim and Scott said. I once had the wonderful experience of dislocating a shoulder in freefall, due only to the wind, and it just so happened to wait right until pull time, and I can assure you it sucks. The most common position of instability for a shoulder is abducted and externally rotated, which is exactly the position your arm is in while arched in a classic boxman. Personally I opted for an arthroscopic repair and I had the doctor's clearance to jump again a couple days shy of 2 months post-op. That lasted about a year, then I really wrecked it botching a landing on a small, fast canopy, so I had an open repair where they built up the weak spot in the cup using bone from my pelvis. Recovery from the second surgery was longer, but I've made around 1300 jumps on it since then without any further instability. The fix is easy and the risk without it is high...you've made the right decision.
So since I dont have insurance. Here in Oregon there is this wonderful free clinic. I had an appointment today, saw a doctor and now next month I'm seeing the orthopedic. From there I shall be getting my surgery :) So far so good.
you have the same thing I did. if you have dislocated it 5 times there will be situations where you'll feel it move around in freefall wanting to dislocate. You probably have so much damage after 5 dislocations like I did theres not hardly anything left to keep everything tight. The choice is yours but you'll do better after getting it fixed.
PM on the way? I know what you're thinking with the free clinic thing, but this free clinic happens to be the best of the best. :) It is actually a very nice clinic. Very clean, not crowded. When I was there there was only 8 other people there. Its by appointment only. I'm really thankful that there even is something like this.