Comeback Story: At an altitude of 14,000 feet

Omar Sky Diving

Participation in most sports comes at a risk of potential injury, and although rare, skydiving also comes with its own risks of injury. Omar Al Atassi came to David Reavy, PT, OCS after experiencing a skydiving accident back in July of 2018. After almost losing his leg and 20+ surgeries later Omar is back to skydiving with some pretty cool scars to show off!

“This is a story about perseverance. Never give up.  We can help you obtain your goals.  It requires that you work as hard as we do. “

-David Reavy, PT, OCS

Omar experienced his accident on 7/28/2018 and didn’t walk until the end of 2019. Omar is still participating in physical therapy to continue to reach optimal body performance. Getting to where Omar is now, takes a lot of work, commitment, and the right team in his corner. While Omar says he’ll be thanking David for life and React PT for literally putting him back on his feet, we too are thankful. React Physical Therapy is grateful for the chance to be a part of this comeback and for trusting in the skills and masterminds behind React Physical Therapy and the Reavy Method©.

Due to an unintentional low turn, Omar found himself with a dislocated right hip, a broken fibula and tibia.  Omar’s hip was put back in place the same day but led to a few months of non-weight bearing.  The broken tibia was Omar’s greatest hurdle as it was a comminuted open fracture.  This injury led to multiple surgeries to take away a piece of infected bone, along with antibiotic treatment for several months. Finally, the contraption as seen in the picture (external circular fixator) allowed the tibia to regenerate ~6 inches over ~18 months. Along with plastic surgeries, the limb is now functional.  For the purpose of this post, this is a very condensed version of the road that lay ahead of Omar that led him to React Physical Therapy.  

I started walking well when David started treating my hips and my shoulders.  I’ve only found such an analytical and experienced approach at React PT. Most places only treat the area that is injured or the immediate neighborhood. Compared to other PT places, this is a huge advantage React PT has.

-Omar Al Atassi

Omar notes that the React Physical Therapy whole-body approach worked brilliantly throughout the whole process, from non-weight bearing to partial weight-bearing, to the current day which consists of minor residual ankle/foot restrictions. We are proud to have been a part of Omar’s comeback and to bear witness to his perseverance that allowed him to return to the activities he enjoys, including his return to skydiving.

I will thank David for life. React PT literally put me back on my feet.

-Omar Al Atassi

A lot of people asked Omar how he didn’t give up during the process. Omar believes humans bring out their best in moments of need, everyone is capable if they need to.

Omar shares 4 tips to persevere in your recovery:

  1. Consistency. Even when the path seems hard keep going even once/week to keep the situation under control.
  2. Trust the method. Things may not be where you want them to be right now, but there is a plan in place to make it better.
  3. Don’t be afraid to explore alterenatives. You have a choice in your care, don’t be afraid to ask for second opinons or explore alternatives.
  4. Listen to your body and let it guide the exercise amount. Increase/Intesitify physical therapy and exercies when you can, and slow them down when you need to.

The joy this sport brings easily defeats the pain and issues I had to suffer from my accident.

-Omar Al Atassi

Skydiving accidents can be really bad, but are also rare, considering the numbers (compare with vehicles fatality rates). As a true athlete, this one incident doesn’t take away from the thrill and joy of the sport of skydiving for Omar regardless of the hurdles he had to overcome in his recovery journey.  At React Physical Therapy we are honored to help our patients engineer their comebacks and return to the activities they enjoy.

Photo credit:

phoenix_aerial_incwebstep1, Paul Webster, photo/videographer) – CSC Chicagoland Skydiving Center