Does bungee jumping make your eyeballs pop out?

BungeeAdventure sports such as abseiling and skydiving attract enough scare stories, and bungee jumping is no exception. Everyone’s probably heard about the lady killed whilst jumping from a 60m high bridge in Australia because she’d accidentally been tied to a rope 80m long. Or the newly-weds that tried a tandem jump on their honeymoon, but didn’t hold on tightly enough on the way down and cracked face-first back together at the end of the rope. Fortunately, most of these are urban myths and survive only due to their pub-gossip potential rather than their accuracy.

Bungee jumping is, however, undeniably responsible for a range of serious medical complaints, including musculoskeletal pain in the neck and back, headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. Thankfully, most of these symptoms have no lasting effects, yet there are tales of much rarer and more severe afflictions. In this paper we review some of the occurrences of bungee-induced injuries and report on some bungee jumping physics – it’s even possible, under the right conditions, for bungee jumpers to cheat gravity itself. We’ll then try to answer that burning question; can it make your eyeballs pop out?

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