For those who are new to our organization, our programs, or even diving in general, there are often a lot of questions.  We are always more than happy to answer any of your queries directly but, for your convenience, we have listed the answers to some common ones below.

Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI is caused by sudden trauma to the brain. This trauma can be from blow to the head or an object actually penetrating the skull and impacting brain tissue. TBI is known as the signature wound of Iraq and Afghanistan. The US government estimates somewhere between 50,000 to 115,000 veterans have TBI. Independent organizations believe the number is 360,000 - 400,000. TBI impairs brain function but symptoms don’t always show up right away. People suffering from TBI experience: headaches, confusion, fatigue, restless sleep, irritability, and trouble paying attention or remembering things. Many wounded warriors suffer needlessly! Research indicates water pressure at as little as 7 feet can have a positive benefit for people with Traumatic Brain Injuries.
The U.S. Veteran’s Administration describes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as, “a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.” People with PTSD experience:
  • Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Drinking or drug problems
  • Physical symptoms or chronic pain
  • Employment problems
  • Relationship problems, including divorce
In 2016, The New York Times reported on the benefits of scuba diving for veterans suffering from PTSD: “Traditional medical approaches generally rely on drugs and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. But this combination has proved so unpopular that many veterans quit before finishing or avoid it altogether.” On the other side of the coin, one Iraq War veteran who survived being shot in the head told The Times, “There are no bad memories in the water. Everything just wants to live. It made me want to live again.” In addition to the scientific findings, we’ve heard firsthand from hundreds of disabled divers telling us they feel less anxiety, fewer headaches, and a feeling of freedom that was previously missing from their life. We’ve seen vets with PTSD change from emotionally shut down and compartmentalized to open and engaged.
PADI stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. PADI is the world’s largest and most-recognized scuba training organization in the world and is the preferred scuba training organization of PfDD. Learn more about PADI.
We’re always looking for friendly people willing to lend a hand. We have fundraising events throughout the year and of course dive trips! Visit our Events page on Facebook, or contact an affiliate dive shop near you.
As US Senator John Walsh of Montana (the first Iraq vet to serve in the Senate) said: “Far too often, we’re leaving our veterans to fight their toughest battles alone.” Patriots for Disabled Divers trains men and women in a physical activity that brings them joy, freedom from pain, and something they can enjoy with friends and family. Through our program, disabled divers meet people with similar problems and work through them together. We also gets loved ones involved, as divers, gear handlers, or whatever role they want to play. Maybe it’s filming the look on their loved one’s face when the biggest shark on earth swims right by them. Learn more about Patriots for Disabled Divers
The best way to show your support is by making a donation and helping us spread the word. If you know someone who would benefit from our program, please contact Patriots for Disabled Divers, or a PfDD affiliate near you. We also invite divers to volunteer.
The weightlessness of scuba diving can provide relief from back and joint pain and generally reduces pressure on the body. For veterans suffering from PTSD, the underwater world has been proven to reduce symptoms and improve focus. Lastly, scuba diving is a social activity and provides opportunities for disabled veterans to connect with others who understand how they feel. Scuba diving is also an activity that can be enjoyed with family and friends.