Medical reasons not to skydive
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Tandem skydiving is one of the most accessible ways for individuals to try skydiving for the first time. If you’re at least 18 and in moderately good health, chances are you will be able to skydive with no issues.
However, it is important to recognize that skydiving is not a thrill ride. Rather, it’s an experience during which you must take an active role. Because of the required levels of participation and the nature of the overall experience, there are certain medical conditions that may preclude someone from skydiving and, likewise, medical reasons not to skydive.
Let’s discuss particular restrictions and conditions that could hinder you from skydiving. Please note, our advice is not that of a medical professional. For medically-specific inquiries, it is important to consult with your physician.
What medical conditions stop you from skydiving?
The three most common medical reasons not to skydive involve high blood pressure and heart health concerns, spine and neck issues, and pregnancy.
High Blood Pressure / Heart Problems
According to the CDC, nearly 116 million (that’s 47% of the population) have high blood pressure. With so many adults sharing the same medical condition, it’s quite common for people to wonder: can you go skydiving if you have high blood pressure? The answer is: it depends.
There are many individuals who have high blood pressure that have no issues with skydiving. However, this is not the case for everyone. An unfortunate trifecta of low oxygen levels, pressure changes, and anxiety-induced spikes of adrenaline could be a recipe for disaster. The same applies to individuals with congenital heart disease or arrhythmia. Skydiving may not be a good fit for you. As with any condition on this list, check with a doctor first before going skydiving.
Neck and Back Issues
Skydiving requires a bit of flexibility. In order to help ensure a stable freefall, an individual doing a tandem skydive will need to be able to arch. This is a position in which the pelvis is pressed forward and down so that the hips are the lowest point and the chin and head remain high. If a prior back or neck injury prevents you from attaining this position, you may not be able to skydive. Individuals that have head, neck, or back issues—including fused vertebrae—should speak with a doctor before going skydiving.
Although many women who are licensed skydivers have continued skydiving while pregnant, it is not advisable for pregnant individuals to participate in first-time or tandem skydiving.
Physiologically speaking, during pregnancy there is an increased presence of the hormones progesterone and relaxin. These hormones cause diminished musculoskeletal cohesion and increase the potential risk of injury for pregnant individuals while skydiving. Because of the risks and considerable liability for those involved, pregnancy is considered a medical reason not to skydive.
Additional Medical Reasons Not To Skydive
Other medical conditions that may prevent an individual from skydiving are epilepsy, diabetes, and certain neurological conditions. As mentioned above, if you have concerns, please reach out to your doctor.
Can you skydive with medical conditions?
Yes, there are many who skydive with pre-existing conditions. Some of these are licensed skydivers who began skydiving prior to developing a condition and some are first-time tandem skydivers who have well-managed medical conditions. The ability to participate in skydiving varies from case to case.
If you are interested in making a jump but unsure if you are medically able, we encourage you to consult first with your physician and then book your jump.