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11th and 12th Jumps:
I took a week vacation and headed back to Idaho and the 486' span.  My intent on this trip was to figure out how to do and then to actually attemp a ground landing.  I spent most of the week building various versions of launch platforms and trying out silly contraptions and some very strange ideas.  I don't have any pictures and I just can't explain it but just trust me, some of these ideas were very odd but we learned quite a bit.  In the middle of the week I wanted to jump so we pulled out an old platform and I did a
PCA jump from a sitting position, like my eleventh BASE jump.  I wanted to use the bar and do a hanging, stowed jump with a delay but we ran out of sunlight and had lost some pieces to the platform.  Friday came around and we got the hanging bar fixed.  Several of us wanted to do a night jump so Friday night would be my first night jump and one that I would never forget.

The accident:
We had packed my rig slider down so I was only going to take a one second delay from the bar.  I purposely put a bit of a swing so I would fall into a good body position.  The same thing I did on my tenth jump when I broke my foot but this time there was no possibilty of hitting anything.  I let go on the back swing and ended up taking about a two second delay instead.  I pitched (threw the pilot chute) and felt the most amazing WHACK ever!  The canopy opened so quickly that it whipped me around enough that my legs swung up and my knees just lightly touched my nose.  I instantly got a pounding headache and could also feel all the muscles in my head and neck had been pulled.  I had just given myself an insane case of whiplash.  Little did I know I actually did much more than that.  I flew my canopy like normal and landed in the water where the boat picked me up.  I got on the boat and knew right away I had injured myself somewhere because of the pounding headache (due to dysreflexia).  I went to the emergency room where I was given a CT scan of my head because that's what the doctors thought was causing the headache.  They also gave me some morphine as well.  The CT scan came out negative (I never had a brain anyway) and the dysreflexia (my headache) went away because of the morphine.  I went back to my hotel and woke up the next morning to see my right knee very swollen and my headache was back.  I said to myself, "So that's what is causing the dysreflexia!"  I went back to the ER and they drained some blood from the knee, took an x-ray of it, gave me more pain meds, and told me to see my doctor about it when I got home.  We drove back to LA two days after the jump.  I saw a few more doctors and eventually saw an orthopedist six days after the jump.  During those six days I actually went back to work!  The knee that was swollen in Idaho was actually much better but now the other knee was swollen.  The doctor took an x-ray of my left knee and that's when he noticed the break (non-displaced) in my femur just above the knee.  He took more x-rays and found the top of the same femur was broken as well.  The ball at the top of the femur that goes into your hip had broken off and was displaced.  We also found my right ankle was broken as well.  The orthopedist was very shocked and said I should go to the emergency room right away.  I went to the hospital where they said they'd have to do surgery.

The surgery:
Because the lower break in the femur wasn't displaced they said they would just pin and plate it to keep it from moving but the ball of the femur that had broken off couldn't be pinned so they needed to replace it.  I ended up getting half a hip replacement (ball part only, no new socket) and they pinned and plated the entire length of the femur.  The doctor said he wanted to run the plate the entire length of the femur to help prevent further breaks.  The surgery was about two and a half hours long and went well.

** Note **
The three springs in the x-rays are actually from an external drain I had at the time.  I just happened to be laying on it when they took the x-rays.  Although you can see all 37 staples used to close the incision in the x-rays just on the outside of my leg.  Those little almost round things that look like they're floating out in the middle of nowhere.  Way cool!


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It's been a month since my surgery and everything is slowly getting better.  My thigh is still quite swollen and the doctor said it would take three months for the swelling to completely go away.  I will need some physical therapy for my knee and hip after I'm completely healed due to the lack of range of motion my leg is getting.  I've also started to get hospital bills and have found out my visit/surgery has cost my insurance company just over $100,000!  Thank god for health insurance!!!

13th through 17th Jumps:
Well, I'm all healed up now but I'm just not the same.  My leg is permanently a little bigger than the other and I'll never have the same range of motion as I did but I guess that's the price one pays.

So, the intent on this weekend was just to get out and jump again (
slider up of course) since breaking my leg.  I wasn't trying to do anything special.  Below is a nice series of pictures of one of my jumps and some video as well.

Here is a video of my fifteenth jump.
Length / File Size:  0:41 / 3.41MB - Play

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Pictures by Stefan Faber

18th through 21st Jumps:
The object of this trip was to try doing a jump while sitting in my wheelchair.  Just a ridiculous stunt looking back on it.  Jump number 18 was just for fun.  I did a hanging jump from the bar with about a 2.5 second
delay.  For the wheelchair jump (jump 19 and 20) we needed to add on some extra planks of wood to the platform.  The idea was that I would roll myself in the wheelchair out to the edge of the paltform and roll off while someone PCA'd me.  I was concerned that when I rolled off the edge if I were to fall backwards a bit I might hit my head on the edge of the platform.  So we added two 2x6's that stuck out over the edge separated 20" or so apart.  This way if I fell backwards my head would pass inbetween the boards and not hit anything.  After I roll off the edge and my canopy opens I would get pulled out of the wheelchair.  As the wheelchair falls away a little round parachute attached to the chair would deploy and make the fall for the chair survivable.  We also duct taped a life jacket on the underside of the chair so it would float when it landed in the water.  We were all quite surprised that the entire jump went exactly as planned.  Below is a series of pictures of the jump.

Here is a video of my 19th and 20th jumps.  The first jumps ever done in a wheelchair.
Length / File Size:  0:50 / 4.17MB - Play

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Pictures by Jay Epstein

22nd through 23rd Jumps:
Time for more silly jumps!  You can't expect anything different at
Bridge Day.  I've always wanted to try going off on someone's back and what better place to try it than at Bridge Day 2005.  The first jump I went off on my friend Collin's back.  I wrapped my right arm around his neck to hang on.  We also wanted to try a PCA chain (a.k.a. waterfall) jump.  This is where one person opens their parachute while holding onto another persons pilot chute.  In this case my parachute would open and I would be holding Collin's pilot chute in my hand.  As I get yanked up on opening I would deploy Collin's canopy.  Because I was to have Collin's pilot chute in my left hand so I could PCA him, and my right arm around his neck to hold on we figured Collin could hold my pilot chute and deploy my parachute for me.  A little confusing!  Essentially we swapped pilot chutes.  The pictures below are of my 22nd jump with just Collin alone.  After that jumped we decided to spice things up a bit by adding a catch and release to the beginning of the jump.  We were to do the same jump but add another person, Tom, to the equation.  Collin couldn't do the second jump with me so we substituted him for a guy named Mark.  I got on Mark's back and Tom stood off to the side.  All three of us jumped, Mark threw my pilot chute over to Tom, Tom caught my pilot chute and hung onto it, waited for a second, deploy his own pilot chute, PCA'd me and I PCA'd Mark.  I held onto Mark's pilot chute a little hard and it pulled me into about 5 lines twists on opening.  The canopy was turning on opening and I couldn't steer the canopy with the twists.  I finally got out of the twists a few seconds before I was about to fly into a big rock.  I was able to turn the canopy away from the rock at the last minute and land safely in the water.

Here is a video of my 23rd jump.  I'm under the second canopy that opens, the one flying in circles for a bit because of the line twists.
Length / File Size:  0:43 / 7.76MB - Play

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Pictures by Tutti Neubauer

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