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BeaveCake

Is it safe for me to get trained to skydive?

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I'm a 20 year old guy who went skydiving a year ago, I loved it (tandem) although I think I almost blacked out towards the end of the free fall. As we got higher in altitude, (we jumped at 14,000 ft highest jump our state offered) I got lightheaded and kinda dizzy and when we fell I couldn't breathe, felt like air was being sucked from my lungs and towards the end I felt numb. When the chute deployed it knocked wind outta me but when the instructor loosened the straps I felt better and all in all enjoyed the experience. I am signed up for AFF courses next year now and am curious if, given the lightheadedness and breathing deal, this is unsafe, or if breathing while in free fall normally is a bit more challenging.

Something else to note is I do have anxiety, but it's more centered on medical things, I've never let it stop me doing things I truly enjoy and I do want to get licensed to skydive. So my biggest fear would be losing consciousness in the air, I'm not afraid to do the jumping itself.

Of course it was my first time ever in a plane, or any aircraft, I still have yet to land in one, and I'm curious if, for someone who experienced these problems on my first tandem, it's safe to continue through AFF courses next spring (I'll probably do it anyway)

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Sure. Safeish. See how you handle an AFF jump. Could have just been too tight tandem harness or something. Maybe you just forgot to breathe. It's easy to forget to breathe. I'm pretty sure I did my entire AFF 1-4, ride to altitude and all, without actually breathing.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.

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AndyBoyd

Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.



I worded that wrong, medically I'm completely healthy, trust me they were checking me out for issues that my father had involving muscles so I've seen a ton of specialists who checked me out top to bottom. While they weren't seeing if I was healthy enough to skydive I was checked thoroughly. What I mean is my anxiety is more of a whit coat syndrome, seeing doctors/specialists freaks me out, and I have hyperventilated in the past. But I'm healthy enough to do it, just to me it seemed like I was sucking through a straw with how fast your going through the air. Maybe it's normal and I'll get used to it, but my only fear was losing consciousness from lack of air or nerves (although after the first time I'm sure it's much easier now.

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My first was out of mosquito like airplane, static line, 3300 ft.
Blacked out but opening shock woke me up.
I was determinate to jump again.. and I decided - if I black out again - to quit it.
I was 40 at the time.
What goes around, comes later.

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AndyBoyd

Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.



You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"

Meh. Just tell 'em you're going on holiday to Maccu Picchu and need to be sure you can hang out at that altitude for a few hours without having a freaking embolism. Also mention that the bunch of random strangers you asked on some internet forum mostly thought you'd be fine and that surely their collected medical experience should be taken into consideration.
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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FlyingRhenquest

***Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.



You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"

?? I chucked drogues for a long time, and had no trouble whatsoever finding a Dr. to check me out for my FAA Class 3 medical certificate.

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FlyingRhenquest



You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"




If that's the attitude of your doc, you need to find a new one.[:/]

A good doctor will do the research and give a useful opinion. Lying to your doctor is pretty dumb IMO.

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You got to jump out of a deHavilland Mosquito type airplane?
Cool!
There are only two airworthy Mosquitos on this planet!

Seriously, sounds like the OP suffered typical first-jump discomfort and anxiety.
Next jump, remember to breath.
If he wants an accurate medical opinion, he will ask an FAA Flight Surgeon to examine him.

As for his medical-related anxiety ... sounds similar to my allergy to lawyers.

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yoink

***

You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"




If that's the attitude of your doc, you need to find a new one.[:/]

A good doctor will do the research and give a useful opinion. Lying to your doctor is pretty dumb IMO.

My doc is fine with it

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AndyBoyd

Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.




Screw that!!! Go jump and figure shit out. Learn to swoop, crank 1080's , fly the shit out on yourhead and bang the bitches before the boogie starts. Because we all know at the end of a boogie is a no no:) boom. Vrapppp vrapppp

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FlyingRhenquest

***Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.



You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"

Meh. Just tell 'em you're going on holiday to Maccu Picchu and need to be sure you can hang out at that altitude for a few hours without having a freaking embolism. Also mention that the bunch of random strangers you asked on some internet forum mostly thought you'd be fine and that surely their collected medical experience should be taken into consideration.+1 LOL
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

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AndyBoyd

******Before you make any more jumps, you must get checked out by a doctor to make sure the symptoms you described are not due to some sort of medical condition that would make it unsafe for you to skydive. You will not get competent medical advice on an internet forum, especially this one. For what it's worth, what you are describing sounds to me like normal first jump anxiety. But you indicated that you have medically related anxiety issues. Do not take my word for it, or anyone else's word for it on this forum. Go get checked out by a doctor, and specifically ask the doctor if it is safe for you to skydive.



You know how that conversation goes.

"Hey doc! I need you to OK me physically to go skydiving!"
"NOOOOPE!"

?? I chucked drogues for a long time, and had no trouble whatsoever finding a Dr. to check me out for my FAA Class 3 medical certificate.

For reasons I'm at a total loss to fathom, sometimes American doctors can be a little risk averse.
Back in the day, when I was in college and was already jumping, I asked our family's long-time doctor (my parents' generation) whether XXXXX would inhibit me from skydiving. His unhelpfully non-responsive answer: "I'm not going to tell you it's OK for you to skydive." Lesson learned.

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Andy9o8


Back in the day, when I was in college and was already jumping, I asked our family's long-time doctor (my parents' generation) whether XXXXX would inhibit me from skydiving. His unhelpfully non-responsive answer: "I'm not going to tell you it's OK for you to skydive." Lesson learned.



I'd suggest that the lesson isn't to not ask for advice, but would be to say 'What's your medical reasoning for that, based on my condition?' - If he couldn't come up with a rational answer, find a new doctor who can come to conclusions based on facts rather than on guesses.


For the OP - as many others have stated, IMO if you're medically sound then you're safe to train. Lots of people get nerves on the first jump, but only you can decide whether you'll be able to conquer them or not. I'd let your AFF instructors know about the issues you had on your tandem and let them work with you to give you the best possible training.

Make an AFF level 1 jump (with 2 instructors) and go from there. :)

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BeaveCake

People misunderstood. I have no medical conditions that would cause issues, I'm curious if people pass out from nerves with this or if that is a more unheard of thing



You know, it never really hurts to go to the Dr. and get a periodic checkup. You might learn that your triglycerides are high, or that your HDL is low. Have em' toss in the regular peace of mind tests, mention your interesting skydiving experience and your interested in pursuing the student progression...

I'm not only a layman but a low number jumper so take this FWIW; it DOES sound like you were just anxious (i.e. scared out of your gourd) and that the tandem harness made you a little uncomfortable. This eventually becomes great fun.

In addition to visiting the doctor, why not head back to the dropzone and watch for a couple of hours? I'm 100 per cent positive that if you mention to others your freaky feelings and experiences on tandem that you'll find folks with similar experiences.

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Andy9o8

For reasons I'm at a total loss to fathom, sometimes American doctors can be a little risk averse. Back in the day, when I was in college and was already jumping, I asked our family's long-time doctor (my parents' generation) whether XXXXX would inhibit me from skydiving. His unhelpfully non-responsive answer: "I'm not going to tell you it's OK for you to skydive." Lesson learned.



Yeah, I get that. The standard family Dr. may not want the liability that goes with telling someone it's OK for them to skydive. Frakking lawyers. :)

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Since YOU are worried, and ultimately it will be up to you to save your life & prevent injury by flying & landing your parachute by yourself and responding to any undesirable or emergency circumstances along the way: yes, you should talk to a doctor. Get yourself some peace of mind!
Then remember to breathe and go have some fun.

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Step 1) get a thorough physical. Make sure all your ducks are in their proper order. Talk to your doc about skydiving and instead of asking to be cleared ask if there are any concerns he/she has about your health

Step 2) Go to altitude, make sure it is not an issue. I recommend a light aircraft like a C182, find a pilot, take a lesson or just ask to take you up for a while. Spent 20-30 minutes at 10k or even get up to 12.5k or so. Just under the oxygen required FL. then see how you feel. Make sure it is not an altitude issue. There are some very uncommon haemoglobin issues that mess with oxygen binding. Would not be found on regular blood work and are exceptionally rare.

THEN, ask yourself if you are hyperventilating. Hyperventilation makes you alkalotic (you offload your acid, CO2, and become "basic" and can lose consciousness between this and the calcium shifting) and you can pass out. You have to be able to control your breathing and heart rate. If you can't be calm then medically you can probably skydive, MENTALLY you may not.

Things happen fast at 120mph, you need to be calm and "in the game". It is unlikely anything medical will stop you, but psychologically there is always the risk. If you panic and black out, there is nobody to save you but you.

So ponder that, I'm not a PCP, just a country ER Doc, but I think you need to be really cautious when considering only the medical side. There is much more to safety in this sport.
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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I had the same problem on my first tandem but it wasn't from anxiety it was just hard to breath from the wind in free fall.

My instructor said I'll have a lung full of air at the door which is enough for a skydive. First I took breaths through my nose then after about 5-10 jumps I was able to breath normally.

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chemist

I had the same problem on my first tandem but it wasn't from anxiety it was just hard to breath from the wind in free fall.

My instructor said I'll have a lung full of air at the door which is enough for a skydive. First I took breaths through my nose then after about 5-10 jumps I was able to breath normally.



Sounds like you weren't keeping your chin up enough, then!
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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Andy9o8

I asked our family's long-time doctor (my parents' generation) whether XXXXX would inhibit me from skydiving. His unhelpfully non-responsive answer: "I'm not going to tell you it's OK for you to skydive." Lesson learned.

When I was 19 I was getting my annual physical from the long time family doctor. He said "John, you're in perfect shape. Quit skydiving." :D

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My medical background was thoroughly checked to several specialists all within the last year, neurological tests and even an echocardiogram, I know I hyperventilate easily though, and my first tandem we went to 14,000 feet and had 50 seconds of free fall, which I understand is higher and longer fall than most jumps plus keep in mind it was my first time ever off the ground in any aircraft. But the instructor says he wants all of us to do one more tandem first anyway.

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