Base Jumping: A Truly Extreme Sport

| Total Words: 498

BASE jumping is not a sport for the faint of heart. Athletes who practice this extreme sport climb to the top of tall buildings, canyons, or other structures; jump off; enjoy a period of free falling; then open a parachute and coast to the ground.

The acronym BASE stands for building, antennae, span, and earth; which make up a comprehensive list of what kinds of fixed objects BASE jumpers plummet from. Span is a term that includes all sorts of bridges, or any other structures that span over a valley or chasm. Earth means anything from cliffs to mountains to canyons.

BASE jumping is very dangerous for a variety of reasons, but the most common causes of injury and death have to do with failure to maintain a clear area around the athlete during the jump and/or the landing. If the wind is against them or if they make a mistake during the launch of their jump, athletes sometimes collide with the object that they have jumped from. Because BASE jumping areas are usually not designated for this guerilla-style sport, the makeshift landing targets that jumpers aim for are rarely large enough to allow for a safe jump. As a result many BASE enthusiasts meet with serious and...

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