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Help a Jumper Out: Instructor Nick Barson

Written by Kolla


Skydiving Instructor Nick Barson broke his leg badly on Sunday May 3rd. After spending 2 days in the ICU, doctors had Nick and his now super-articulated leg stabilized and external fixtures installed.  He had another operation yesterday to get the titanium upgrade and is now on the long road to rehab and recover.

UPDATE: Nick stopped by on our Facebook page to share a little back story on the incident. We are glad to hear that he squarely on the road to recovery and that the tandem passenger was not hurt

Hey Blue Skies Mag… thank you for showing me some love and posting this. Here are the details about what happened…  Sunday 5/3 was a relatively normal day… good weather nice temps, etc. my last tandem student of the day was very nervous about her jump. I did my best to reassure her and make it an enjoyable experience for her. ride up went well, freefall went well, canopy ride was ok… she told me she was a bit light-headed under canopy, i made some extra adjustments to her harness to make sure i wasn’t contributing to any light-headedness. I had her practice the landing position a few times and she didn’t do great but she was getting her feet up. I turn final (winds had gotten a little gusty at this point) and told her ‘feet up feet up’ she barely moved them at all… as i approached flare time i opted to rock my feet back and was in the process of kicking them forward again to bring her feet forward and up so we would have a safe landing (a fairly common maneuver i use when passenger can’t get feet up). well as I was kicking her feet up the gust in the wind let off and the canopy dropped us the last 3 feet. my right foot had toes facing the ground and when my toes caught foot rotated clockwise then her body landed on my heel causing my foot to rotate more clockwise (normal toe position relative to knee is 12 o clock my toes were at 7:30 with a clockwise rotation). Passenger was spared any injury by my efforts and my right tib/fib between ankle and knee for all intents and purposes is shattered. 5 breaks all the way through the bones and double that in fractures. I spent 2 days in ICU at Allegiance Medical ER in Jackson MI. They’ve installed an external fixator on my leg holding everything together while we wait for swelling to go down so I can have my next surgery where they will install hardware in my leg. If all goes well that should be the last surgery and then the healing process can begin. The 2nd surgery was preformed on 5/12 and I am posting this from the hospital bed. They are keeping me in patient until they have the pain in check. Titanium hardware goes virtually all the way from the ankle to the knee. I will post some photos of the x-rays both before and after once I get the copies from the hospital.

Working as a skydiving instructor means that pay checks stop arriving when you stop being able to work. Even with insurance, additional medical costs and general life costs can start to pile up a bit.

PD New Beginning

If you would like to help Nick out with a donation to help cover those costs, you can do so by visiting his GoFundMe page. If you aren’t able to donate, maybe you could pitch in with a warm thought or two, to help speed up the recovery process.

Our best wishes to Nick – we hope you heal up quick!!


  • Thank you Blue Skies Mag. You guys are awesome. I appreciate your help. Pretty drugged up and in pain right now or I would try to say more

    • Happy to help Nick! Thanks for sharing the back story with us on Facebook – I updated the post with that so that you don’t have to type it out ;) Heal up quick!

    • Hey Nick! :) Sorry to hear about your accident. Sending prayers for a quick and uneventful recovery. I have a friend that had an accident on Mother’s day and I started a GoFundMe acct on her behalf. Could you help me out with some details on how I could get her link to circulate more to spread the word? Thanks! God speed Nick!

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