One-armed Minneapolis skydiver sets record for jumps in a day - KMSP-TV

One-armed skydiver sets record for jumps in a day

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Greg Kellogg | FOX 9 News Greg Kellogg | FOX 9 News
Greg Kellogg | FOX 9 News Greg Kellogg | FOX 9 News

Kevin Burkart single-handedly broke a world skydiving record -- literally -- all to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease.

At 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Minneapolis man made his first descent of the day in Baldwin, Wis., breaking the world record for most one-armed jumps. He had already gone skydiving thousands of times before a 2012 snowmobile accident left him with a permanent spinal cord injury.

"I can no longer use my left arm, and I didn't want to give up skydiving, so last year, I figured out a way to make it happen," Burkart said.

"It's not something you can practice, either, you just have to go and do it," Burkart said. "I've made the equipment adaptive; I've made several adjustments, too. The most significant is a carabineer that I pre-install on the left steering toggle so then when the canopy opens, I connect the steering toggles together with the carabineer and steer with that."

Losing the use of an arm is enough to halt anyone's daily activities, but Burkart was already on a mission.

Fourteen years ago, Burkart's father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and his struggle prompted Burkart to hatch an idea in 2007: He'd use his adrenaline to raise money for the National Parkinson's Foundation of Minnesota.

In one day in 2008, he jumped 100 times and raised $48,000 for the foundation.

Reporting from an on-site ambulance, Burkart says he's raised over $100,000 throughout his pursuit. He told FOX 9 News that the ambulance visit comes standard – he reaches jumping altitude in 45 seconds, and the g-force acceleration experienced in each jump requires him to take anti-nausea medication, and an IV keeps his fluids in balance.

Now that he's snapped a world record, he said he'd continue to jump as many times as he could on Wednesday.

"[My father] is having a tough time with it, it's a very difficult disease," Burkart said. "It's a tragedy. We've got so many people that are affected by it, it's nice to be able to make a difference for them."

By 7:30 a.m., he'd already jumped 20 times, and it's safe to say he'll tally hundreds more in years to come.


You can learn more about Kevin Burkart's mission and make a donation at


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