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Injuries in Swedish skydiving
  1. Anton Westman1,
  2. Ulf Björnstig1
  1. 1Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Division of Surgery, Umeå University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Westman
 Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Division of Surgery, Umeå University Hospital, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden; anton{at}worldwidewestman.com

Abstract

Objective: To create a basis for prevention of modern skydiving injuries.

Design: Descriptive epidemiological study.

Setting: National total material.

Patients: Data on all reported injury events (n = 257) in Swedish skydiving 1999–2003 (total 539 885 jumps) were retrieved from the Swedish Parachute Association. Non-fatally injured skydivers were sent a questionnaire asking for event and injury details (response rate 89%), and supplementary hospital records were retrieved for the most serious injuries (n = 85). Human, equipment and environmental factors were assessed for risk.

Main Outcome Measurements: Frequency and severity of injuries.

Results: Incidence of non-fatal injury events was 48 per 100 000 jumps. The lower extremities, spine and shoulders were important regions of injury. The most serious injuries were experienced by licensed skydivers, but students in training had a higher injury rate and more often left the sport because of the injury. Of two student-training systems, one had an incidence less than half that of the other.

Conclusions: A basis for prevention was created, showing a potential for reduction of frequency and severity of injuries with training and technical interventions.

  • AFF, accelerated free fall
  • AIS, Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • MAIS, maximum AIS
  • SFF, Svenska Fallskärmsförbundet

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Footnotes

  • Published Online First 15 January 2007

  • Funding: This study was funded by the Stenholm, Kempe and Cederberg research grants.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Informed consent was obtained for publication of the photos.

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