After an initial meeting with the student, where we discussed possibilities and limitations for the student to scuba-dive, it was time to take the no barrier tour and a try scuba dive. When the student had gotten his medical approval we hit the pool.
Scott had a spinal cord injury about 9 years ago, wakeboarding in New Zealand. Since than he's wheel chair bound, he's paraplegic from waist down. He did some swimming in the past few years as a form of exercise and when Parafed Auckland forwarded him information about DDI scuba courses offered in Auckland, he contacted myself right away. We set up a meeting to discuss the training, locations, scuba gear, medical and draw up a schedule.
Today in our dive center, Haliotis Porto, DDI dive center nº 20-037, we had a Try Scuba Diving, not an ordinary PADI Discovery Scuba Diving, which we made hundreds times before, but a DDI Try Scuba Diving. We were going to do it for the first time in an autonomous way, all by ourselves, DDI Scuba Divers Instructors. Our dive center is a recently created branch in Oporto, from our motherhouse, the PADI 5 star dive center, Haliotis.
Paula is the first female and the first maori certified Disabed Scuba Diver in New Zealand. Paula contacted me via Parafed, enquiring about the disabled diving courses available. She is an incomplete paraplegic, contracted a virus about 5 years ago and as a result her immune system attacked her spinal cord, from being absolutely symptom free, she became paralysed within couple of hours.
Scuba diving has shown numerous advantages as a social and physical rehabilitation of disabled individuals, allowing them to interact in a near weightless state, with many feeling that the normal obstacles and restrictions their disability gives them on land, disappears in water when given the right equipment and training.
Since June we have a new DDI Pro member! Our venezuelan friend, Wolfgang Guevara has follow successfully his DDI Pro Training this month in Ciudad de Panama. He became PADI OWSI last year in Spain and is so exited to start to teach DDI programs back in Venezuela. So if you are planning to visit the blue caribbean waters of this wonderfull country, do not hesitate to contact him! Congratulations!!!