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Paragliding Injuries

The chance of suffering paragliding injuries should not deter you if you decide to go out and fly next weekend. But paragliding is considered an Adventure Sport, so of course accidents do show up when you look at the big picture. Here's a short discussion of some results of paragliding accidents. In contrast to the Statistics About Paragliding section of this site, no figures are quoted.

The most common paragliding injuries are sprained, fractured or broken legs and ankles.

This is because the legs are unprotected, and will contact the ground hard if a landing or low-altitude maneuver goes wrong. Thermal turbulence or strong winds are often the culprits here.

But guess what. It's your choice, or your instructor's choice, whether to even fly in such conditions! Very safe conditions = very safe flying generally. It's a balance that all paraglider pilots make choices about. Sometimes, experienced pilots will trade the chance for an exciting flight for a somewhat higher risk of injury than usual.

Although less common, a clumsy landing can result in bumps, bruises and cuts to many other different areas of the body. Paraglider pilots are rather exposed aren't they! No roll-cage to cower in when things go pear-shaped. Spinal injuries used to be an ugly possibility in a bad accident. However these days some very good back-protectors are available which greatly improve your chances of avoiding such paragliding injuries. In fact, back protectors are pretty much standard equipment in modern gear.

An interesting but rarely-publicized point can be made here. Some of the worst accidents have occurred when the pilots are in a foreign country on a holiday. They have taken the opportunity to fly in an exciting new location or maybe extend their usual flying experience in exciting new directions. But perhaps have not taken with them the same caution they usually exercise at home.

Paragliding fatalities are rare but do occur from time to time. A careful look at the details of the relevant accident reports show that most if not all of these pilots were taking chances. If inexperienced, the pilot often was doing something others specifically warned against. In the case of more experienced pilots, they were often pushing past their own limits in trying to achieve some goal.

So, from the perspective of someone wanting to simply 'see what it's like', all the above facts need not cause any fear!


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