Skydivers making a formation

How Common Are Skydiving Injuries?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Skydiving injuries are uncommon, but they do still happen. Here, we’ll explore some skydiving injury statistics, how common skydiving injuries are, and what we do to negate the risk as skydivers.

Skydiving Injuries Statistics

The United States Parachute Association (USPA) is the governing body for the sport of skydiving in the US. The USPA gathers data every year on the number of skydives made and the skydiving injury rate sustained during those jumps. According to the latest data, USPA members reported 252 incidents in 2021.

With a total of around 3.2 million skydives made that year, that’s roughly 2.3 injuries per 10,000 skydives. A tiny proportion of the total number of jumps.

What Are The Most Common Skydiving Injuries?

skydiving injuriesWhile skydiving injuries are rare, when they do happen, they tend to happen on landing. That’s because our bodies are slowing from a forward speed of around 20-30 mph under your parachute to a complete standstill. If we don’t operate the parachute correctly, (i.e., we forget to slow down or slow down too late), it can result in ankle or leg injuries as we come into contact with the ground.

Similarly, tandem skydivers are briefed to lift their legs up for landing. This allows the instructor to take the impact, which they minimize through the correct operation of the parachute, while the tandem student’s legs are out of the way. More often than not, tandem skydivers land on their backsides to further negate the risk.

Skydiving Injuries And The Media

We know that the media can be quite negative in its portrayal of skydiving. The reason for that is simple; with 3.2 million skydives made in a year and the majority of them injury-free, to report on every one of those would be impossible. Plus, a story of yet another incident-free and safe skydive isn’t going to make the front page!

When a skydiving injury does happen, the media can be quick to grab onto it. A story about a skydive gone wrong has much more of a sensationalist spin than one that goes well. The reality is that more often than not (as the statistics prove), skydives go ahead without injury or incident.

Tandem skydiving student with a worried look on her faceSkydiving Fatalities

Skydiving fatalities do, sadly but rarely, happen. It’s the nature of any extreme sport that occasionally, things do go wrong. However, the majority of those incidents happen when highly experienced skydivers perform advanced maneuvers or through human error. While we do everything we can to negate this risk, incidents can happen.

According to the USPA, there were 10 fatalities out of 3.57 million jumps in 2021 – that’s a rate of 1 fatality in 357,000 jumps – and most of those fatalities were not caused by equipment malfunction, but rather by licensed skydivers pushing themselves beyond their limits.

This comes from the USPA website:

“According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.”

If you are thinking about skydiving with us and have any concerns at all, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

I drove more than 2 hours to jump with Tecumseh because I wanted a reputable company and I was not disappointed. They were very safety minded and professional. The staff was very friendly and made the whole experience fun! If you're only doing it once, pay the extra and get the video package. Very well done, you won't be disappointed.

Ken Reeves