Skydiving With a Disability

Friday, April 21, 2023

Of the many members of the differently-abled community who take on incredible challenges every day and accomplish many feats – you might not be so surprised to learn that people with disabilities CAN and DO skydive on a regular basis. Take Jarret Martin, for example, a paralyzed skydiver with thousands of jumps under his belt. He uses a custom leg retention device to keep his legs separated and stable while in freefall. Or Lonnie Bissonnette, who completed the first-ever wheelchair skydive!

Skydiving is far more attainable than you may think, and we are always finding unique ways to make the dream of flight accessible to everyone. With all things considered, we can only approve those who are safe to skydive. So, how possible is it to skydive with a disability or a medical condition? We’ve got your answers here!

Is it Possible to Skydive with a Disability?

Skydiving with a disability is absolutely possible! Many dropzones, including Skydive Tecumseh, have hosted guests with various disabilities. Skydiving with people who skydiving with a disabilityhave disabilities is something we are very passionate about and take huge pride in at Skydive Tecumseh. 

Although, while we would love for everyone to be able to achieve their dream of flight, we must keep safety in the forefront of our minds when approving your jump. This means that each individual is treated on a case-by-basis.

In some cases, this means that an in-person evaluation is necessary in order to assess the individual’s cognitive and physical ability. Always call the dropzone to discuss your options before making your skydiving reservation.

Can You Skydive If You Are In a Wheelchair?

Yes, it is possible to skydive for individuals who use a wheelchair. Please be advised that a professionally trained instructor must perform an evaluation before giving the go-ahead. The instructor will assess each individual based on the amount of mobility they have and if they can arch. In some cases, specifically designed harnesses will be used to accommodate wheelchair-bound individuals, amputees, and paraplegic guests. As always, we urge you to consult your physician before making the decision to book your skydive.

Can You Skydive With a Heart Condition?

Skydiving is an amazingly exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding experience – which can be great for those who have a healthy heart. But for someone who has high blood pressure or other heart issues, skydiving might not be safe for you. A controlled heart problem might not be a big deal, but we’re not the ones to tell you that – we’re skydivers, not doctors! We always urge you to consult a physician and discuss any issues you may be concerned about before attempting to skydive with us.

Can You Skydive With a Pacemaker?

Skydiving news

If you have a pacemaker you may want to think twice about going skydiving.

The force of gravity, when it comes time to deploy the parachute, has the potential to put the jumper at risk of arrhythmia and cause the pacemaker to malfunction.

Again, please consult with a physician to get a doctor’s approval beforehand.

Skydiving Medical Restrictions

While we would love for everyone to share this experience with us, it’s more important to us that everyone is safe and healthy. Therefore, there are certain medical restrictions we must uphold in order to maintain the safety of our customers and staff.

What Conditions Disqualify You From Skydiving?

Here’s a list of the top medical conditions that may stop you from skydiving:

  • Neck/Spine injuries
  • Heart conditions (including hypertension)
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pneumothorax or collapsed lung

How Does Weight Factor into Skydiving?

Weight limits are established by manufacturers’ skydiving gear regulations, airplane weight limits, and consideration of the tandem instructor’s weight. Therefore, weight restrictions are unique to the dropzone you are jumping at.

At Skydive Tecumseh, guests cannot weigh more than 240 lbs. If you are shorter than 5’9″, there is a maximum weight limit of 225 lbs. This weight should factor in clothes and shoes. If you are taller than 5’9″ and weigh between 225-240 lbs, we can accommodate you for an additional $25.00 fee. The surcharge reflects the additional challenges and efforts required by instructors for heavier students, and is not meant to be discriminatory. It’s a measure to ensure instructors are adequately compensated for the extra physical demands they may encounter, while maintaining a commitment to inclusivity and fair treatment for all clients.

We do weigh each of our guests upon arrival – we promise there is no judgment or stereotype when making this decision, it is purely for the safety of you, your instructor, and everyone else involved. If we go over the weight restriction imprinted on the skydiving gear, the capabilities of operating the parachute will greatly diminish – and it’s just not worth the risk. Safety above all else, always!

Other Things to Consider

Keep in mind that regardless if you are within the parameters of the weight limit, there are some physical fitness requirements to consider that come with making a skydive. It requires a bit of agility, flexibility, and the core strength necessary to lift your legs when it comes time to land.

Also, even if you are approved by a physician to jump – it is still important to communicate your disability or medical issue to a staff member and keep the necessary life-saving devices nearby in the case of an emergency.

Have any questions? Contact a team member to discuss any concerns or to schedule your evaluation! We would be honored to jump with you at Michigan’s #1-rated skydiving center – Skydive Tecumseh. Blue skies!

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

We had to reschedule our jump three times due to weather, but it was definitely worth the wait and I'm definitely going again! The entire crew was amazing!

Katrina McKinney