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What Causes a Person to Blackout When Skydiving?

Skydiving is an exhilarating and challenging activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, there is a potential risk of blacking out during a skydive. A blackout is a temporary loss of consciousness that can occur for a variety of reasons.

Causes of Blackouts During Skydiving

The most common cause of blackouts during skydiving is hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen. This can occur for several reasons, including:

Altitude: The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than the air at sea level. This means that skydivers must breathe more deeply and more frequently to get enough oxygen.
G-forces: When skydivers exit the aircraft, they experience a sudden increase in G-forces. These forces can push the blood away from the brain, causing hypoxia.
Dehydration: Dehydration can lead to a decrease in blood volume, which can also cause hypoxia.

Other causes of blackouts during skydiving include:

Cardiac arrhythmias: These are irregular heartbeats that can disrupt the flow of blood to the brain.
Seizures: Seizures are uncontrolled electrical discharges in the brain that can cause a blackout.
Vasovagal syncope: This is a type of fainting that is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Symptoms of a Blackout

The symptoms of a blackout can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Tunnel vision
Loss of consciousness

Treatment of Blackouts

Blackouts are typically treated by providing the person with oxygen. This can be done through a nasal cannula or a face mask. In some cases, the person may need to be given CPR or other emergency medical care.

Preventing Blackouts

There are a number of things that skydivers can do to prevent blackouts, including:

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids before and during your skydive.
Breathe deeply and regularly: Take deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can dehydrate you and increase your risk of blacking out.
Get plenty of rest: Make sure you are well-rested before your skydive.
Tell your instructor if you have any medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or seizure disorders, can increase your risk of blacking out.


Blackouts are a serious risk for skydivers. However, by following the tips above, you can reduce your risk of blacking out and enjoy a safe and thrilling skydiving experience.

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