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    SCUBA

I enjoyed SCUBA diving before my accident and I can still enjoy it. On land I have to rely on a wheelchair or leg braces in order to get around, but I do not have that restriction in the water!


Being trained by Certified SCUBA instructors
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Al Kaye, from Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center organizes a SCUBA clinic for challenged people utilizing local SCUBA instructors who graciously give of their free time and energy to check us out in the University of Tennessee's outdoor pool. Here the SCUBA instructors are telling students how to use their regulator or "octopus".

The instructors check student's SCUBA gear
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Each student's equipment is carefully checked by the instructors.

How to inflate your BCD
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They learn how to inflate and deflate their buoyance control device or BCD.

Fitting masks
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How do you put this thing on? Hmm. It fits really snug.

Your regulator... Your Air
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So, this is where my air comes from...

Shallow underwater orientation
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After all is said, a little shallow underwater orientation is in order.

Special adaptations for paraplegia
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Each challenged person gets additional instruction based on their individual requirements. Since I have complete paraplegia (no voluntary movement or sensation below the waist) I wear protective diving boots instead of swim fins and I need knee pads. If I use an underwater scooter I can really get around fast!

Heading to the deep end
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OK. Some of us are confident enough (and competent enough) to rate a trip to the deep end of the pool. Here you see one of us playing Frogger with the lane swimmers on our way to the deep end of the pool. Duck!

Deep enough for the 10 meter diving platform
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Matthew made it to the deep end. It's deep enough for the 10 meter diving board. No, they aren't diving today.

Matthew's self portrait
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Here's a self-portrait of Matthew. It's hard to get that camera pointed in the right direction!

An impromptu diving test
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One of the instructors is giving his fellow instructor an impromptu test by turning off his air supply. He noticed his air was "gone" and immediately checked his tank air supply, 2000 psi. He then checked his tank air valve and turned it back on. He passed with flying colors.

Upside down neutral buoyancy
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Here I'm practicing neutral buoyance upside down.

Ear pressure is equalized
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Matthew had a little trouble clearing his ears, but stopped his descent until they were equalized. Everything was OK for further descent.

Looks deep down there!
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Hmm. It looks like it's really deep down there!

Me SCUBA?  I'm only six!
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"Who, me? Maybe next year."

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