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How high can you fall from without debilitating injury?
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dancesonrocks


Sep 16, 2004, 10:25 AM
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How high can you fall from without debilitating injury?
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Hey there, I'm doing some research for a friend. He asked me the following question:
In reply to:
Do you have any idea how far an average person can "fall" (assuming they can land on their feet) and avoid serious (i.e. debilitating) injury?

I'm going to clarify it a bit further, let's assume the landing is flat dirt, and you don't have a crash pad (the question is not really a climbing scenario).

Anecdotal evidence is fine, but if anyone can point me to a book or other reference for this, I'd appreciate it too :)


dirtineye


Sep 16, 2004, 10:40 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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It depends.

Not very far at all if you land with your knees locked and on your heels. Possibly only a few inches.

If you do it right, at least 12 to 16 feet, with certainty of walking away whole every time.

based on lots of experience, not just a few times on the right way, and only once and I hope never ever again the wrong way.


crimpandgo


Sep 16, 2004, 10:48 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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Not really a fair question. Too many variables in the equation. People can break bones from falls that are very short. Then you have situations where people fall from 40 feet and walk away without a scratch. Narrowing it to landing on feet may help.


Partner tyify


Sep 16, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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Human are kinda like cats to certain degree.

A cat thrown out of a 1-2 story window will land without injury/minimal injury...However you throw a cat out of a 3 story window and its almost guarnteed to be injured/killed. A cat thrown out a 4-upwards story window will survive with minimal injury. The cat at 3 stories doesn't have enough time to right itself for the landing. The cat at 4 up stories has time and can absorb the shock by landing on its feet. The reason is that when you have time to prepare for the landing you can make it a lot better. A parachute landing GREATLY reduces the impact upon the body and can help considerable ammounts with shock reduction. With humans it all depends on how you land just like the cat. I've taken 20 foot falls and walked away no problems. I've also taken 2-4 foot falls and messed up my heels. So unfortuently I don't believe your going to get a straight answer...

And no I didn't personally conduct the research :twisted: !


dancesonrocks


Sep 16, 2004, 12:21 PM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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I like the replies so far.

In reply to:
Not really a fair question. Too many variables in the equation. People can break bones from falls that are very short. Then you have situations where people fall from 40 feet and walk away without a scratch. Narrowing it to landing on feet may help.

Consider the question narrowed down to landing on your feet, also assume that this person does not have abnormally bad luck and is otherwise of a sound body.

The situation I'm sure is fictional so it's not something that will be tested on live human beings; however, I think he wants the fiction to have a basis in fact.

I gave him a preliminary answer of 25 feet but told him I'd try to research the topic. My next step is asking a few doctors I know, but I wanted general feedback from climbers as well.


dingus


Sep 16, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Consider the question narrowed down to landing on your feet, also assume that this person does not have abnormally bad luck and is otherwise of a sound body.

The situation I'm sure is fictional so it's not something that will be tested on live human beings; however, I think he wants the fiction to have a basis in fact.

I gave him a preliminary answer of 25 feet but told him I'd try to research the topic. My next step is asking a few doctors I know, but I wanted general feedback from climbers as well.

25 feet!!! WAY too high for ordinary folk my friend, esp the average american who is overweight and doesn't exercise enough. 25 feet = broken bones, almost a surety. Most people don't fully realize just how a 25 foot FALL feels when you hit a rock or hard packed dirt instead of a pad.

10 feet is pretty high. That's basically standing on the edge of your roof and jumping off. Teenagers can do that sort of thing, average americans cannot. Seriously, can you picture your dad, or mom, or any of their friends just hopping off the roof without getting hurt?

Realistically, the height of a two or three step ladder would be about it, 5 feet MAX.

Atheletically inclined? Beyond an honest 10 foot fall (bottom of heels to the ground), the chance of injury goes way up. 20 feet? Chance of dibilitating injury is fairly high.

Again, average folks, not someone who has trained herself to jump and roll and all the other things we do to keep from snapping our legs.

Just a heel bruise is dibilitating.

DMT


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Sep 27, 2004, 10:57 PM
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The parachute roll is your friend :wink:


c-money
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Sep 28, 2004, 1:00 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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All of the worst cases of a climber getting injured in falls (that I have been around) have all involved falls under just 5 feet.

The injuries include - broken leg, brutally broken ankle, blown-out knee, and 1 messed up back.

All but one of these falls were under 2-3 feet and all were onto a pad of some sort. The exact circumstances of each may not meet your criteria.... but still, it does not take much....


overlord


Sep 28, 2004, 1:21 AM
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i remeber reading an article about JT locals taking numerous highball falls and mostly not damaging stuff. but offcourse they now have really bas knees.


cfnubbler


Sep 28, 2004, 6:07 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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I can actually fall 60-70 feet on to pavement with no ill effects.

-Nubbler


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Sep 28, 2004, 7:27 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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You seem to be looking for an average here. This is nearly impossible due to the variables of 1: Individual physical structure; 2: the landing; 3: the physical actions taken by the one falling (are they twisting to see their landing zone?); 4: How freeked the faller is (relaxed will be less dangerous, tense will cause more damage) ... on and on and on ...

I fell from about 12 feet last Fall on a crash pad, but due to my twisting to evade a boulder protruding from the ground, I broke my ankle and need to have it pinned. I also fell from a 25 ft highball and never received as little as a scratch. You seem to have given yourself a very hard task to complete, grasshopper.


raingod


Sep 28, 2004, 7:40 AM
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In reply to:
Human are kinda like cats to certain degree.
......
And no I didn't personally conduct the research :twisted: !

There was actually research!!??


nebraska


Sep 28, 2004, 7:55 AM
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Any fall over 8-10 ft activates the entire trauma team at my urban trauma center. Similar in most other trauma centers as well. So from a medical standpoint, any distance greater has historically had the potential for serious medical complications. That distance is even lower for pediatric and for geriatric patients.


ophir


Sep 28, 2004, 9:06 AM
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given the fall is under control straight down with no foward momentum on to flat dry hard pack dirt. and the falling person is in decent shape and healthy with a good weight index

average american - 3-4'
average person - 4-5'
average climber/athlete - 10-12'
mini me - 35' - 40' ( he bounces)
:shock:


Partner coldclimb


Sep 28, 2004, 9:11 AM
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D'you ever hear about the guy who fell off the 60 foot ladder and walked away without even a bruise?


He fell off the first step. ;)


Partner drrock


Sep 28, 2004, 9:14 AM
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madmax


Sep 28, 2004, 9:20 AM
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I forget which video it is (one of the Masters of Stone?), but Dan Osman falls about forty feet to the ground while free soloing a route. He then gets back on it and sends. Anyone remember that video?


reno


Sep 28, 2004, 9:24 AM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Great thread. I heard about a fighter pilot who free-fell about 33,000 feet and survived but broke a lot of bones. Was fine when they healed (is this "debilitated"?) Also skydivers have fallen when the chute failed to open up and survived...

These are the exceptions, not the norm. The minimal chance of survival in such situations is so microscopic as to defy description, and I'd not want to use such events as justification to jump out of a plane without a chute.

As a rule, anything over twice the person's height has a greater than 50% chance of major injury. (American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma, Guidelines for Optimal Trauma Care. 1998, revised.)

So... once you get above 12 feet, you have a good chance of serious injury.


Partner drrock


Sep 28, 2004, 9:31 AM
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reno


Sep 28, 2004, 9:41 AM
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In reply to:
Absolutely the exception to the rule! The original poster asked How High can you fall from? Although s/he might have been asking for the average or norm, if and when I ask how fast can a mile be run in, I would expect the fastest time... perhaps then followed by the average time a normal fit person might run it in (for me, about 25 minutes!).

Remind me not to go running with you... I wouldn't be able to keep up, unless we stopped five or six times for a cigarette break. :)

In reply to:
BTW reno I find your posts to be the most logical and useful on the site, by and large. Thanks for the clarification, if it was needed.

Thank you. That is very kind of you to say. I'm glad the minimal input I offer is of value. :)


dancesonrocks


Sep 29, 2004, 5:57 PM
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Re: How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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This is still going? Hehe ;)

In reply to:
Although s/he might have been asking for the average or norm
She :)

To update folks on why I asked this question in the first place... it turns out my friend was going for a "best of" circumstance and a "slightly above average" person scenario. Apparently this was for a speech in his speech class where he suggested jumping out of a 2nd story window instead of staying inside a house with zombies in it (yes, it was an unusual speech). At least he took my advice and said it would be a deliberate jump and not a fall.

Looking back on the answers I think I would have persuaded him to go with 10 feet as a reasonable distance for an "average" person to jump down from and not get hurt, but apparently it all worked out and he thinks he'll be getting an A for the speech. :lol:


Prelusive007


Jan 30, 2010, 2:33 PM
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Re: [dancesonrocks] How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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The absolute answer to your question regarding how far a person can fall before injuring themselves depends precisely on how high they are when the fall begins. A person falling from a height of 12 feet can fall 11 feet without injuring themselves. A person whose fall begins at, say, 226 feet, can fall 225 feet before experiencing injury! Obviously the first 225 feet of falling didn't hurt a bit! hahahahaha I do hope this answers your question. Please write to me if you have others. However, you are advised that this was your only FREE answer. There will be a charge for all future questions. Best of luck to you and may you never fall further than you're able to safely land! Sly
Attachments: clouseau.jpg (19.6 KB)


fresh


Jan 30, 2010, 4:21 PM
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Re: [Prelusive007] How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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thank god someone answered this question. it's caused six years of silent tension on this forum.


jeepnphreak


Jan 30, 2010, 4:50 PM
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Re: [dancesonrocks] How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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No idea, there are way to many varibales that come in to play most of wich mentioned earlier.

But me personaly, I fell out of a tree 14 feet back in college. semi drunk with out rolling, just stuck the landing. I suffered a sprained ankle that bother me for a few weeks, but never really stopped me form any other activities.


lukasmaquenso


Jan 30, 2010, 6:20 PM
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Re: [dancesonrocks] How high can you fall from without debilitating injury? [In reply to]
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only as an example ... a few months ago my friend broke his ankle on a boulder. He was like two feet above the ground ........... also know a guy who fell from the seventh floor of a building just by accident .... fell on the trunk of a car and only broke his jaw (by the way, he had to pay damages of the car) Crazy

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