This week, PADI is honoring active-duty military personnel and veterans across the globe, along with the many members who offer dive programs to support them. In addition to the confidence-building and life-changing aspects, diving can also heal.
According to Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer of PADI Worldwide:
“We are committed to increasing access to the underwater world for everyone and believe that the transformational power of learning to dive can benefit the emotional and physical well-being of all humanity. Promoting health and wellness through diving is a key focus area of PADI’s People and Humanity Pillar of Change, with the primary objective to remove barriers and increase access to diving for all.”
According to the World Health Organization, there are around one billion people on the planet who are living with some sort of disability — mental or physical. PADI’s courses have always allowed and encouraged adaptive techniques, but with the launch of the Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course in 2018, the inherent flexibility of the agency’s courses for people with disabilities was better highlighted.
This has helped instructors learn how a simple technique change can allow more divers to meet performance requirements and earn a PADI certification. Instructors learn how to implement techniques to leverage the strengths of their students and help each one overcome their unique challenges, thereby providing greater access to diving for all.
This summer, PADI teamed up with Patriots for Disabled Divers, a non-profit organization founded by Jeff and Merial Currer, who own Patriot Scuba, an Instructor Development Center in Virginia, USA, to certify retired U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Anderson as a PADI Open Water Diver.
Anderson completed his course in Catalina Island, California on the 20th anniversary of his deployment to Iraq, where he was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that resulted in the loss of both legs and his left hand. He is one of the few triple amputees to have survived his injuries in Iraq. Anderson was awarded the Purple Heart because of his injuries.
Check out a video of Anderson below.