Airborne Amputee Event Lands Safely
The first Airborne Amputee skydiving event, sponsored by The Amputee and Prosthetic Center of Houston, Texas, and others, was a thrill for six amputees, most of whom made their first jumps November 10 in Rosharon, Texas.
|The Amputee and Prosthetic Center peer visitor Jody Wallace, one of the originators of the Airborne Amputees, freefalls at 120 mph. Wallace had skydived before the loss of her leg, but this was her first jump as an amputee.|
The participants of the Airborne Amputee event represent "regular people" who have never been skydiving but want to demonstrate their independence and illustrate that life is not over after amputation, according to event organizers. They are skydiving to express their independence and show the determination that helped them overcome the obstacles of losing a limb.
"Words cannot describe the sense of empowerment and accomplishment that Airborne Amputees felt after their jumps," said Joe Sansone, CEO of The Amputee and Prosthetic Center.
The amputees took part in tandem jumps, Sansone stressed, noting that some practitioners warned of the potential for fractured femurs, blown-out knees, and shattered prostheses. Sansone said that the "best and most experienced" assistants jumped with the amputees, and all landings were smooth.
The event suffered from some unfortunate timing. An employee from Skydive Spaceland, the facility used for the jumps, died in a skydiving accident the day before the event. Most of the nearly 30 amputees who had agreed to participate backed out after hearing of the accident.
But those who took the leap had a blast. "I am ready to go again!" skydiver Richard Lockley told the Houston Chronicle.