|Date||Location||Category||Age||# Jumps||AAD?/RSL?||Dropzone.com Report||Dropzone.com Discussion|
|15/09/2007||Star Skydiving, ID||MED||55||2402||Y/?||307||#2951780|
|DropZone.com Description: Jumper suffered a stroke while under canopy. He stowed his slider and released his brakes but failed to take any further action. He suffered multiple injuries on his landing but medical personal suspect the stroke was not surviviable.|
|USPA Description: This jumper planned a solo skydive with a deployment at 5,000 feet. Witnesses on the ground first noticed him under canopy at an unreported altitude flying away from the normal landing area. When he was approximately 2,000 feet above the ground, the witnesses could see that he was slumped in his harness and not steering his canopy. His parachute then began a gradual left turn, which continued until he struck the ground in an open area off the airport. He received immediate medical attention, where first responders found him unconscious with facial injuries and a very weak pulse. He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he died later that day.|
The report indicated that this jumper apparently suffered a debilitating stroke soon after deploying his main canopy. He had released his brakes and stowed his slider, both normal activities following a main canopy deployment. At some point above approximately 2,000 feet, he apparently lost consciousness, as he was no longer steering his parachute. He was jumping an elliptical canopy at a wing loading of 1.7:1, which produced a significant forward speed and descent rate. Although the cause of the gradual turn is unknown, it may have been due to the jumper's body position leaning more toward his left in the harness after he became unconscious. Striking the ground in a slight turn and almost in full flight at such a high wing loading resulted in fatal head and neck injuries, along with broken ribs and facial injuries.
The coroner listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma following a stroke. Even though the jumper had suffered a stroke first, the examiner deemed the trauma from the hard landing as the actual cause of death. However, the coroner determined that the stroke was severe enough that even if the jumper had suffered it while on the ground, he most likely would not have survived.
As jumpers get older, they must consider the additional physical stress that skydiving places on their body and keep an eye on any medical conditions they may have (such as high blood pressure or a family history of heart or vascular problems). This jumper underwent surgery in 2002 to have stents installed, apparently to open clogged arteries. Following the surgery, he was cleared by a doctor to resume skydiving. However, regular physical checkups are no guarantee against experiencing a stroke or heart attack while skydiving. Jumpers, especially those with pre-existing conditions, should closely monitor their health and err on the side of caution any time they don't physically feel up to jumping.