J. W. Sieker1, G. M. Vilke2, M. S. Schongalla, O. Mei-Dan3
1San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California
2San Diego Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California
3 Denver Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Colorado, Colorado
Background. The risks of BASE jumping are due both to its high inherent risk and the austere locations in which jumpers are often injured. Despite this, emergency management education and resources are lacking for BASE jumpers. We seek to highlight a category of treatable incidents whose outcomes could be improved through emergency medical education and training.
Methods. The available literature on BASE jumping injury profiles and wilderness medical education were reviewed. Based on these data, experts on BASE jumping injuries and austere rescue provide medical training and equipment suggestions for BASE jumpers operating in remote environments.
Results. Orthopedic injuries, particularly of the lower limbs and spine, predominate in BASE jumping. Almost no medical or training resources exist that have been developed for, or in partnership with, the BASE jumping population. Group preparedness may be significantly aided through a combination of equipment carried on each person and equipment that can be quickly accessed.
Conclusions. Emergency preparedness is multifactorial and context-dependent, but jumpers’ ability to respond to both injury and rescue situations is crucial in the BASE environment. A proactive approach from the wilderness medicine community can address the problem of BASE jumping injuries from medical and pre-hospital perspectives.