PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is a proud supporter of two very special organizations: WAVES (the Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA), a nonprofit that teaches and trains veterans to become scuba divers, and PFDD (Patriots for Disabled Divers), an organization dedicated to bringing joy and therapy to those with disabilities worldwide.
According to PFDD, diving can have many benefits–some of which cannot be replicated on land:
- Relieving physical pain—The weightlessness of being underwater may relieve physical pain and may help patients exercise in a more comfortable manner.
- Building mental strength—It’s a place where patients may be able to focus, be more in control and feel a sense of achievement.
- Preventing social isolation—Scuba diving is always done with a “buddy” – an instructor or therapist, and sometimes even in groups. This encourages bonding with others.
Juan Gonzales a PADI diver and WAVES participant himself, is a retired U.S. Marine who served 3-consecutive tours in the Middle East and started diving with his son as therapy for PTSD.
All images courtesy of Daniel Tayenaka