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aussiefreefly

Vertebrae replacement and recovery time.

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Hey guys, I tried to search the forums first but couldn't find anything close enough to my situation. Since a couple of weeks I lie in hospital with 4 fractured thoracic vertebrae and 1 that is completely smashed requiring a metal/titanium replacement with base plate and screws, all due to a hard opening on a Sabre1. I managed to land without further injury.
I just would like to hear if anyone else has experienced something similar and what the physical rehabilitation times were like before getting back up in the sky. How did you know that it was time to safely jump again?
I would appreciate any helpful info.
Knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency commonly result in death..

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I had a less severe injury due to a hard opening on a Sabre 2 - compression fracture of the eighth vertebra of the thoracic spine. I decided it was okay to jump when my doctor said that I was as healed as I was gonna get, and that I looked pretty stable. In my case, that was six months after the injury.

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I broke my neck on a hard opening with cameras on. My helmet broke into pieces and my neck was smashed. My three vertebrae were replaced with bone from my hip and it was held together with screws and a titanium plate. The fusion healed well and I was able to jump again in six months. However, my hands and parts of my arms are paralyzed forever. While the bones healed, the damaged nerve stems and spine will not.

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Warning, I am not a medical professional ... I just have a dis-located shoulder, torn ligaments in my knee, couple of herniated discs in my lower spine, etc..
How quickly you recover depends upon how much soft tissue you damaged and how hard you work at physical rehabilitation.
As soon as your surgeon recommends, start working with a physio-therapist to rebuild muscles surrounding your injured spine.
You can return to skydiving when you can run up and down stairs, swim, play tennis, etc. .... AND when your surgeon says that you re strong enough to resume jumping.

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Thanks for the responses guys. It is reassuring to hear that you were up in the sky again after a 'relatively short time'(although there is nothing short about not jumping for 6 months). I was dreading that I would be out for a minimum of a year which would be almost impossible to deal with. Obviously it would come down to the individual and how hard I work through rehab. 'Videofly' your accident sounds brutal and I'm sorry to hear that you have lost feeling in parts of your hands and arms. I hope that doesn't affect your jumping too much but it's good to hear that you could at least get back up in the sky. Reading about your accident makes me feel lucky to be quite honest and gives me hope that at least I will fly again.
I guess I just have a heap of rehab and months of lurking the forums on here.
Thanks again for replying guys.
Blue skies and safe landings (I will now add 'soft openings' to this saying from now on;))
Knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency commonly result in death..

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I had a burst fracture of my L1 vertebrae after having a canopy collapse.
I was reinforced with a cage, screws and rods.
I waited a full year before jumping again at my doctors recommendations.
I was strong enough and ready after 6 months, but as he said, the bone takes a year to fully regain its strength.


Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.
Pelt Head #3

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ghost47

I had a less severe injury due to a hard opening on a Sabre 2 - compression fracture of the eighth vertebra of the thoracic spine....



Did you ever figure out why that opening was so hard? The Sabre 2 is not normally noted for opening hard.

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Quote

Did you ever figure out why that opening was so hard? The Sabre 2 is not normally noted for opening hard.


I'm pretty sure the direct reason was that the slider had slid down the lines somewhat -- I pitched and had a fully open canopy what felt like immediately. Why the slider slid down the lines, I can't be sure, but I will say that it was the last time I ever used a packer.

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lost my third vertebrae and also got a plate with rods and a steelcage i was able to go snowboarding just 4 months after the two operations.


coming back to skydiving, i struggled alot from packing and sitting inside the airplane, the jumping and landing itself was no problem but i would suggest a easy opening 7cell ;)

now many years later i still struggle from packing but i learned to deal with it.


wish u a good comeback ! no pain no gain ;)

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I wasn't hurt as badly as you, but I ruptured 2 discs and fractured a vertebra on an EMS call (paramedic). It took me roughly 6 months from each fusion to get back to a point where I could really work out and go back to work without hurting myself. That's because it takes a while for bone to fuse even with a stimulator like I used. The insurance insisted they be done separately because they felt one disc wasn't badly damaged enough, turns out it was the worse of the two and causing most of my pain. About a year out from the last surgery my back felt better than it has in 20 years. The best advice is to follow your doctor's advice. And that will probably initially be don't ever jump again. Tell him to take his granny panties off and give you a real time table as it isn't a negotiation. They will tell you, they love repeat business in the end. I imagine I will need surgery again from all the rough activity, but I will enjoy myself until I have to drag myself back to the surgeon again.

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Wow, 4 months seems really fast to go snowboarding, you must have powered through your rehab! I had already thought that packing and sitting in the plane were going to be quite uncomfortable, especially seeing as though I jump a lot from a small Cessna. I am leaning toward an Aerodyne pilot when I start jumping again as I hear a lot about their slow sniveling openings. Are 7 cells generally softer openers than 9 cells? I think the first few openings are going to freak me out the most as I'll be worried about breaking something gain.
Knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency commonly result in death..

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'Tell him to take his granny panties off and give you a real time table as it isn't a negotiation.' Haha! I had a few conversations with the doctors who had initially said that jumping again was not recommended. After they realized that it is more than just a sport for me and I have to be able to continue they kind of changed their opinion. As they weren't really familiar with the sport and its impact on the body they just told me anywhere between 6 months to one year depending on how well I do in rehab. I think when I can start working out close to what I was before the accident and running etc. then I will talk again with my doctors and hear what they have to say.
Knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency commonly result in death..

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They replaced my L2 after a swooping accident, and my first jump back was less than a year later. Lots of surgeons will look at you like you're crazy if you ask when you can jump again because they don't understand the forces involved in an uneventful skydive.

You might have to ask when you can start running again and just start jumping when you can do that level of activity.

Either get rid of the Saber, get a pocket slider, or learn how to pack for soft openings. Your back will be fine for normal use, even surprisingly durable, but if you fuck it up again it's ten times worse because you have little chisels pre-installed. Don't get into swooping.

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Yeah I gathered running would be a great reference to judge wether I'm ready to jump again. Coming in fast on a no wind day is the wrong place to realize that I can't run it out ;)
The sabre is already gone, I never want to see that thing again. I tried to always be careful to quarter the slider and roll the nose and it almost always worked for a softer more sniveling opening.. this time it just exploded out of my rig.
As for swooping, I have always had a lot of respect for the discipline but now the idea of it just scares me as I just see myself coming in too low/fast and my back just exploding into tiny shards..
Knowledge is safety. Ignorance and complacency commonly result in death..

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The pilot got soft openings jumped one a few times and loved it, im just a big fan of 7cells in general no matter how lazy u pack em its allways like falling in fethers. But the pilot is fine dont worry !

Yeah i bought my liftpass for the winterseason when i was in rehab to motivate me, but i tell you it was alot of pain but thank god there is apreski ;) a jagrtee combined with a 1k paracetamol works wonders (dont copy that)

another thing i noticed early the season since its more cold its more painfull, now i know what my grandpa was talking about...ughhh

good comeback!

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