There are many reasons that lead us to start scuba diving, whether it is by chance while on holiday, a family member encourages us, we are curious to explore that other part of our planet or maybe we want a lifestyle change. There are few of us however who get into diving as it is going to help our health, both mentally and physically; ultimately changing our life.
The below story is one of inspiration, courage and a reminder of just how powerful our industry can be. In his own words Chris tells us just how learning to Scuba Dive has changed his life.
“My name is Chris Middleton, I am a military veteran due to being injured while serving in Afghanistan. I was blown up after stepping on a pressure plate which triggered an improvised explosive device and resulted in losing both my legs; the left above the knee and the right below the knee. Thankfully I was introduced to the world of diving by an amazing guy called Richard Cullen and the charity Deptherapy, we met at Headley Court, the rehabilitation centre for armed forces, only 4 months after my injury and he offered me an opportunity I would have been stupid to turn down. The chance to go diving in Key Largo, Florida. I jumped on the trip and my diving adventure had begun!
After my very first dive in the big blue, I was amazed, overwhelmed, excited and basically acting like a 3 year old on Christmas morning! My life had at that moment changed, I no longer felt that due to my disability I was unable to live my life the way I wanted. With diving I felt free, there was no pain in my stumps, the phantom pains had disappeared and ALL the negative thoughts would simply vanish. I just felt happy!
Furthering my diving adventures I have carried on to complete the courses needed and I am currently a PADI Divemaster. I must say I think my favourite course was by far my Rescue Diver Course, for me it was the most demanding due to needing to adapt the techniques to reach the correct standards, which was very challenging but, with a great instructor Simon McKay, we got through the course and smashed it!
As I have only recently passed my Divemaster Course I have further plans to go all the way, I will be starting my PADI Assistant Instructor at the beginning of 2017, then just going to keep doing what I am doing – traveling, diving, and supporting the PADI world by introducing new and excited people into the amazing world of PADI Diving.
I would always recommend diving to anyone who has not been diving because they are just simply missing out. The community is amazing, the sites all around the world are amazing, and the courses are amazing, the adventure is amazing, but most of all diving is amazing!
I owe all this to one man and his amazing team! His name is Richard Cullen and all the guys at Deptherapy and DiveCrew, without these guys I would have been in a much worse situation as throughout my recovery I was drinking far too much which was becoming a problem. This whole experience has not only changed my life but has definitely saved it. As a result of that I use my experiences to pass on to other injured veterans who need that extra boost in life to just carry on.”
Be proud to work in the Diving industry and never forget the impact we can have on people’s lives!