When devastation and trauma strike a perfectly healthy happy family, the courageous father makes the impossible – possible.
At 11 years old, David Jnr had to undergo surgery on his brain stem to remove a growth that was life threatening. The surgeons and doctors said after the procedure that David Jnr would never walk again as he was now paralyzed from the neck down and had to live his life as quadriplegics do. David’s father, David Snr spent months with his son in intensive rehabilitation of all shapes and sizes, all the time researching Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment. This research lead David – a scuba diver of many years, to take his son to a local pool with dive gear and workout. The physical “workout” he performed on his son led David to work out just how to rewire his son’s nervous system and, over time, bring life back to his once paralyzed body. David Snr consistently reminded his son that he could do it, he can push through the pain and exhaustion. David Jnr’s Mum Kim and his two younger sisters became very involved in the rehabilitation process David Snr was figuring out for his son. And it worked.
“This is the best therapy I have ever received – I’ll be coming weekly to scuba therapy”, Lincolne quadriplegic.
Fast forward 10 years and David Jnr now walks, runs, scuba dives and is a scuba diving instructor for his father’s business in between completing his PHD at university. This is the true and inspiring story that motivated me (Lyndi Leggett), Scuba Instructor and Leadership Trainer on the Central Coast of NSW, to step up and bring Scuba Therapy to Australia. David’s techniques and scuba therapy, he has developed over the last 10 years of working with neuro special needs and disabled people, has helped more people to improve their muscle tone, reduce their pain and spasms, stand up and walk with a quad cane to unassisted walking again. These people are then able to get jobs again and not depend so much on disability services. All it takes is the desire and then the decision to do it. So often we hear from our divers that their medical team had reached the end of their ability to help because they had no more to give. It’s fortunate we have pioneers who have taken a very different approach and now bring hope back to people who have been told by their medical teams that there is no hope of recovery. Thinking outside of the box or in this case outside of the wheel chair. Challenging and changing the thinking within healing and rehabilitation and combining that with a passion for scuba diving. It’s a win-win.
“If you don’t like your results, change your approach, when you change your approach – you change your results.” – Lyndi Leggett.
In an antigravity environment, we can do incredible things with these people. For many of our divers, just scuba diving is massive in itself – as most of the able-bodied population are terrified of it. This mental strength and trust, is what’s needed to enable them to push through the workout, to believe in themselves and to start the healing or rewiring process in a different way.
Neuro plasticity and nerve regeneration are well documented and researched now and if David Jnr isn’t proof enough for you, then do your own researching. Never give up, stay hopeful and push the limits or rather take the plunge. The Scuba Gym Australia is located on the Central Coast and uses pools in Sydney and Newcastle. If you are ready to think outside of your wheel chair and you’d like to take the plunge whilst having a lot of fun too then get in touch calling 042-038-0055 or through www.thescubagym.com.au. There is an incredible video on our home page, so you see some of our work and the results too.
The Scuba Gym welcomes people with neuro special needs or spinal injuries, from ages 10 upwards with any of the following diagnosis: Quadriplegics, Paraplegics, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lyme’s Disease, Dandy Walker Syndrome, Hypotonia, Fibromyalgia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Motor Neuron Disease, Autism, Down Syndrome, PTSD and amputees. For those people with PTSD or amputees, we know there is a vast amount of research out there that confirms the tremendous affects scuba diving has for these people. We offer Scuba Diving classes teaching these people to dive in a smaller, relaxed and personal manner. Too many dive shops set cheap prices for the courses yet pack them full to overflowing with students who never really learn properly how to dive as you do in a smaller setting. And very few dive shops are qualified to teach adaptive scuba.
And our Scuba Camps are available for groups of people with autism or down syndrome. These are great fun to run and attend. Our scuba therapy for these people is mostly cognitive therapy and quiet time. Autistic people love the silence underwater and we have lots of exercises underwater that keep them busy and help them to relax.
The Scuba Gym is working with people who are self-managed or plan managed according to the NDIS. We are also offering sponsorships to pay for those divers who are All Managed and cannot get funded by the NDIS. We offer sponsorship to friends and family to buy up through their companies that helps us to help more people. Every good leader knows the importance of contribution and we know there are organizations who will gladly sponsor events or divers or both. With 4 in 10 people in Australia having a disability of sorts – there is a real need for a new effective approach to healing.
Founder of The Scuba Gym Australia