The epidemiology of injury in bungee jumping, BASE jumping, and skydiving

Med Sport Sci. 2012:58:112-29. doi: 10.1159/000338720. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


Knowledge regarding epidemiology of injury is of benefit to injury prevention of activities associated with high risk. As relatively 'young' activities, the investigation of injuries and deaths related in extreme sports such as bungee jumping and BASE jumping is relatively sparse. Studies evaluating risk in civilian and military skydiving activities have been reported over the past decades, but technique and equipment has changed. Risk with bungee jumping is only sporadically reported in the literature, most often in connection with eye injuries, but also rare events of serious, life-threatening injuries and even death. BASE is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth, which represents the fixed objects from which jumps are made. Estimated risk in BASE jumping for any injury (independent of severity grade) is 0.4-0.5%, which as 5- to 8-fold higher than skydiving. Typically, men outnumber women in a ratio of 10:1 in both injuries and case fatality rates. Age is frequently reported to range from 30 to 40 years. Notably, differences in training and environmental locations exist between recreational skydiving and BASE jumping. As BASE jumps are made from lower altitudes than skydives, jumpers generally fall at lower speeds, have far less aerodynamic control, and may lose flying stability. Yet, typical injuries include a bruised or sprained ankle during landing. Protective gear including helmet and pads may help to prevent such injuries, while more complex knowledge of human factors, environment and training are needed to prevent fatal injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Aviation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Risk Factors