0
Rimi

No confidence to jump again after an injury

Recommended Posts

Hello,

Long story short - I had a bad landing last year and fractured T12 bone and a big toe. 8 months later, I have recovered but only feeling back pain from time to time. My doctor told my that I can start jumping again anytime I want to as my bones are fully healed. 

I went to the DZ last weekend and I couldn't get over my fear. Every time I see people landing, my palms start sweating and I find it difficult to watch it. Can't get over my memories of that fast approach which got me injured. If I decided to jump and got injured again then that would be it. I feel I already let my family down and I don't want to do it again. My injury was totally my fault for choosing a wrong size of a canopy and I believe I learned from my mistake. I have so much of fear and negativity and doubt which is holding me back but I know how much I love jumping.

Anyone was in the same situation and could share their experience would be helpful. 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No personal experience, but one thing you can do on the ground to prepare yourself for landing is to learn and practice PLF’s until they’re second nature. Jump a canopy that makes a PLF reasonable (ie not some pocket rocket), and expect to PLF. Then you’re in control; you can prepare for a PLF (which doesn’t require nearly as much coordination and time sense), and only do a standup if everything looks perfect. 
I don’t have great depth perception or time sense in landing (I’ve taken several canopy classes and have over 2700 jumps — this isn’t new), and take this approach to landings. It’s not nearly as “cool” as a badass standup or swoop, but I’m a 66 year old lady who’s been jumping since she was 20, and haven’t been hurt on landing enough to miss the next load. That’s plenty badass. 
Wendy P. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been seriously hurt three times: once from a hard opening (compression fracture, T8), once from having someone literally fly under me on final (tore MCL after I fell about 15ft to the ground), and once from a stupid decision while landing (broke my ankle).

The first injury may have been the hardest for me to come back from, both because it was the first time I had been seriously injured, and because the injury was permanent and TO MY SPINE.  But before I even went out to the DZ, I went through the pros and cons in my head.  (I also re-learned how to pack, and vowed never to let anyone else pack for me ever again.)  Once I had decided that I was coming back, then I went to the DZ and did a coach jump with one of my friends.  The plane ride up was scary, stepping out was scary, letting go was scary.  But I simply pushed through it.  And, after I landed, the next jump became easier.

So, that would be my advice: seriously go through the pros and cons in your head, and if you decide that you want to do the work of getting back in the air: (1) do all the work you can to minimize the chance that you're going to injure yourself again (reflect on why you chose the canopy you did, whether there were any voices you ignored, how the landing went bad and what you can do to have it not go bad again, think about whether your canopy now is the appropriate size, etc.); and then (2) simply push through the fear once you're there.  Make the steps small: (1) get packed; (2) put on your rig; (3) get on the plane; (4) take off your seat belt, etc. after (9) step off the plane, you're skydiving.

There's also no shame in waiting longer if you decide you don't want to go back right now.  Nor is there any shame in hanging it up for the foreseeable future.

Good luck!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I have never been injured skydiving, "knock wood" well not seriously hurt. I did however witness a friend of mine and a mentor pull a low hook turn that  ost him his life. I was a very new A licensed jumper and decided that day to walk away from the sport. It took me 2 years before I could get the courage to jump again. It was not easy, I was more scared that first jump back then I was on my very first Static Line jump. I am not sure what advice to give you on this, only that I just simply went and did it. Some ground school and an Instructor on the load and I just did a Hop and POP right out of the door. I landed it and said OK lets go again quickly. went right back up and went to altitude and did a recurrency jump with my instructor. I think if I had to ride all the way to altitude and have to do freefall skills I wouldve backed out. Getting that hop and pop out of the way was key for me. No bullshit, no screwing around INstruvctor spotted cand called for the door and I went as soon as it was open. 600 jumps later here I am. I will say that you should never get on a load if your brain is so preoccupied that it might inhibit your ability to react to any situatuin that might arise. Good LUck. Be safe. HAve fun

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, ghost47 said:

So, that would be my advice: seriously go through the pros and cons in your head, and if you decide that you want to do the work of getting back in the air: (1) do all the work you can to minimize the chance that you're going to injure yourself again (reflect on why you chose the canopy you did, whether there were any voices you ignored, how the landing went bad and what you can do to have it not go bad again, think about whether your canopy now is the appropriate size, etc.); and then (2) simply push through the fear once you're there.  Make the steps small: (1) get packed; (2) put on your rig; (3) get on the plane; (4) take off your seat belt, etc. after (9) step off the plane, you're skydiving.

Great Advice. I might also add that it should be an no stress, all about me, maybe sunset, slight breeze, Hop-N-Pop. No additional variables.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to race motorcycles, my ambition out weighed my ability and I crashed - a lot. I got injured - a lot. In one race season I had three spells in hospital.

But I loved to race motorcycles so I kept getting on the start line, and kept crashing and getting hurt.

My final race ended in much the same way, I woke up in hospital with broken bones and bleeding on the brain, they fixed me but I decided enough was enough, my family, and my body, had been through enough, I retired.

But I love to ride motorcycles so I bought a Harley to just pootle around on.

 

Five months after I retired from racing I was riding along a nice country road around 50mph when a startled pheasant flew out of the hedgerow straight into my face.

I woke up as the air ambulance landed. I was more banged up pooling along than I was in any of my racing crashes, I was very, very lucky to survive. 

That accident taught me a very important lesson - life is short, you can wrap yourself in cotton wool but if it is your time it is your time, if it is not it is not.

Every grave stone has two dates on it "born" & "died". Between those dates is a "dash". 

 

Life is not about the "dates" but about the "dash". We are all born, we all die the real important thing is whether you "live your dash".

Fill your dash with things that delight you, fill it so full that your eulogy takes a couolenof hours and your funeral is full of people with stories of how you lived. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess the short answer is "How bad do you want it?"

I'm not trying to be snarky or sarcastic.

How bad do you want to go back to 'playing in the sky'?
Is the risk for another accident worth it?

Honestly, I ask myself that question every year. 
I don't jump in the winter, so I get a 4 month layoff.
And I ask myself every spring if the risk I face is worth the joy I get.

 

So far, the answer is 'yes'.
But I know full well that there will come a time when the answer is 'no'.
That's when I hang it up.

I went through a tough patch early on. 
I did S/L training and had a hell of a time getting stable in freefall.
After a couple really bad experiences, I ended up doing an AFF.
Having the instructors hanging on to me as 'training wheels' allowed me to get past the mental block & fear and enjoy the freefall. After that, I progressed and improved.

For you, I get the impression you are afraid of the canopy flight & landing.
You understand full well that your downsizing choices were the root cause of your accident.

So find ways to address that.

Follow Squeak's excellent suggestion.
Do a tandem (or two or more).
Make sure the instructor knows where you are coming from and will make the effort to teach you proper canopy control, pattern procedures and flaring technique.
If that helps, then get a 'big boat' student canopy. 
Depending on your size and the canopy, you can damned near land one of those 'no flare' with a decent PLF (DON'T actually try that - It's an illustrative analogy). 

As Wendy suggested, perfect your PLF. 
Get to the point where you can comfortably land a fall from 6 foot or so. 

Last - Don't be 'afraid to be afraid'. 
If you aren't at least a little bit afraid, you are either complacent or you don't understand the risks.
Accept the fear and work through it.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can relate. I haven't fully recovered yet (still have 2 surgeries scheduled) but I'm determined to get my A license. It's gonna be hard, I would be scared, the risk exists. But getting the license has been always a dream and I'm determined to get it. Whether I keep jumping or not after getting my license, that's a different thing and I wouldn't think about it right now. But I know that overcoming injuries, getting back in the sky and achieving my dream represent an end to my journey (did a tandem and got hooked, got through AFF, had an accident and survived, lengthy recovery...etc)

What was your goal before you got injured? Do you still want to achieve that goal? I always believe that we will get anything we want if we want them badly enough. 

Stay safe and I wish you the best!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fractured my spine (L2 and L3) on a bad landing from a roller coming off a building at about 20 feet on jump 31, after almost a year layoff. I was off for ANOTHER year almost before I felt comfortable coming back. I'll tell ya, that first jump back was TERRIFYING. Even the drive to the DZ, my palms were sweating. But the DZO was great at helping me swallow the fear and welcome me back. Felt SOOOOOO sweet. Come back when YOU'RE ready BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. Not because you think you should or someone told you you should or could. Good luck!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0