How Skydiving Changed My Life - Donna Bachler

I recently completed 40 minutes of continuous, non-stop freefall. Or at least that’s what my brain experienced. My body was lying on a hospital bed, an IV plugged into my vein flowing a steady stream of ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic side effects. The ketamine treatments were part of a clinical trial to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD. I’ve suffered from PTSD for a long time due to military experiences, and I jumped at the chance to be part of this study. Most treatments don’t work at all on PTSD. In fact, aside from ketamine, only one other thing has proven effective (for me at least): skydiving. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Marcela Gallardo

“Skydiving changed my life.” I´m sure this is an overused phrase. However, I believe I have valid arguments to use it. Should I tell you my story?
My name is Marcela Gallardo; I’m a 42-year-old woman, mother of three daughters, wife and grandmother. I live in Neuquen City, Argentina, and it’s been two years now since my first tandem jump.
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How Skydiving Changed My Life - Linda Kretzler

I grew up a skinny little girl who was afraid of everything. My father, who had been an aerial photographer in World War II, encouraged me to try whatever I set my mind to. On the other hand, my mother kept telling me I was too small and a girl and couldn’t do anything.

In spite of this paradox in upbringing, I must have been born with the taste of pixie dust in my mouth, because all I wanted to do was fly. I watched the TV show “Ripcord” as a child and thought I could do it, like the little engine that could. After all, my heroes Mighty Mouse, Peter Pan and Superman could fly. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Melissa Scott

On November 26, 2013, my life as I knew it changed in a matter of seconds. My husband committed suicide in front of me. At that moment, time froze. I was a widow at the age of 33. In an instant, I was left a single mommy of two little girls, one four months old and the other six years old. The next few months flew by in a blur. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Kate Wrigley

In November 2011, I started AFF at Skydive the Farm, which is now located in Cedartown, Georgia, and little did I know what a difference that decision was going to make in my life. It started with a rule I made for myself that summer: If it sounded fun, I would try it. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Wendy Jones

by Wendy Jones | C-42940 | Austin, Texas

To describe how skydiving changed my life, I’ll begin with why I did it in the first place. In February 2013, I sustained a complete ACL tear and three impaction fractures while practicing my other great passion in life, tae kwon do. The orthopedic surgeon gave two options: 1) have reconstructive surgery including a tissue graft followed by nine months of physical therapy or 2) never do martial art or sports involving legs again. The decision was easy, since a life without recreation is unimaginable to me. However, nine months with no tae kwon do, no gym, no sports, no anything except physical rehab was a bitter pill. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Michael Hoover

by Michael Hoover | C-43743 | Finleyville, Pennsylvania

When I got my pre-second issue of Parachutist, as soon as I read “How Skydiving Changed My Life, ” I knew I wanted to write one. But I was barely licensed and hadn't been in the sport long enough to know what effect it would have on me. Now, more than a year later, I have learned much more. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Brittany Gray

by Brittany Gray | C-43319 | Derby, New York

A tandem was something I had always wanted to do, but I was just out of college and very concerned with the mountain of student loans I was just beginning to climb. I didn’t feel right about spending that much money on something “frivolous,” but if I had only known then that $250 would become my average weekly spending on the sport, I might not have given it a second thought. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Rachel Ginsburg

by Rachel Ginsburg | B-43069 | San Diego, California

I woke up to the voice of my ground instructor repeatedly calling my name through the crackling radio at my ear, urgently yelling at me to untwist my lines. After a moment of disoriented confusion, I instinctively recalled what I had learned during my long day of static-line training. I checked altitude and kicked out three to four rotations of line twist. Once under a stable canopy, I realized I had absolutely no memory following the moment my hands slipped from the strut of the Cessna 182, a yellow smiley-face sticker taunting me from the underside of the wing I didn’t want to let go of. I had completely blacked out from fear. But within a minute, I was safe, the radio was quiet, and I took a moment to look around me. Seeing a patchwork quilt of farmland stretching for miles, vibrant under the clear blue sky I was briefly a part of, I felt the greatest sense of freedom in my life. I began laughing and kicking my legs like a kid on a swing as terror transformed into pure joy. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Scott Jones

by Scott Jones | D-13317 | Winter Haven, Florida

Recently, I returned to skydiving after a 19-year hiatus. When I left the sport I was a 6-foot-tall, 185-pound young man and returned as a 6-foot-tall, 224-pound middle-aged man. Much of the change in my weight reflected a change in my body composition. I put on 20 pounds of lean mass; however, I also added 20 pounds of fat. These changes definitely affected my performance. Most men my age can relate to that few pounds they need to lose. After all, the average American is more than 23 pounds overweight. The problem was that my new body put me on the DZ as “that guy.” You know, the guy with the ballistic fall rate, the guy who always goes low, the guy who everyone groans about when they see him walking up for dive organization. I wasn’t prepared to be “that guy” when I returned to the sport, and it was emotionally challenging.  more »