Scuba Warriors™

Therapeutic scuba diving for wounded warriors

scuba

Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors pays for therapeutic scuba diving for wounded service members of GWOT, the Global War on Terrorism.  We call this program Scuba Warriors™.  Warriors with physical or psychological injuries, or both, can benefit from this healing activity.

SCUBA Brochure for Army             SCUBA Brochure for Navy & Coast Guard

SCUBA March 2014 Newsletter

For 18 years, Wounded Warrior Mike Biggs was Infantry and served 3 tours in Iraq.  Mike found his therapy in Scuba Warriors™ that changed his life.

“After three surgeries and a lot of therapy, physically I was improving with a lot of pain, mentally I was hurting did not care if I was alive or dead.  Then I was asked if I wanted to try the scuba program.  So in 2011, I got my certification.  Once I hit the water, I felt peace and a pain free world.  After getting my first 100 dives I decided to volunteer my time to help others by teaching them to dive.  It is now 2014 and I am an dive control specialist instructor thru SSI and an instructor thru SDI.”

Mike is now an instructor for Heartbeat’s Scuba Warriors™ program.  Watch Mike in the above video giving navigation instructions to Wounded Warriors in our advanced course.

 

Scuba Warriors FAQ

What is Scuba Warriors™?

Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors pays for therapeutic scuba diving for wounded service members of GWOT, the Global War on Terrorism. We call this program Scuba Warriors. Warriors with physical or psychological injuries, or both, can benefit from this healing activity.

Our generous donors support all Heartbeat programs and services.

Scuba Warriors Information (PDF)

Why is Scuba Warriors™ free to wounded warriors?

Our brave, wounded warriors sustained their injuries while they defended our freedom and way of life. They put their lives on the line for complete strangers. Heartbeat and its supporters firmly believe we owe it to our heroes and their brave families to help them heal.

Who qualifies to be in our classes we offer at no charge?

Any Wounded or Injured Warrior in GWOT ( Global War on Terror to include the first Gulf War ) that was wounded or injured in combat or training. PTSD is a qualified injury. Scuba Warriors is located IN WA state. If you are a wounded warrior OUTSIDE of WA and can afford to pay to pay for travel and their board can come. At this time we can not afford to pay for travel. When that changes the website will reflect that.

What is the difference between a wounded and injured service member?

The military defines these terms differently. If the soldier is hurt in an accident while here at home, it’s called an injury. If the soldier is hurt while in a battle or war, it’s called wounded. That is also the term if the soldier is in a car accident while overseas.

Does Heartbeat help both wounded and injured soldiers?

Most of our programs are for both wounded and injured.

Why do you help only the wounded? Don’t others need your help too?

All warriors and their families deserve our time and appreciation. Many organizations serve both wounded and non-wounded. We did at one time too. We realized that we could serve more wounded warriors if we focused completely on them.

How do the soldiers feel about the help Heartbeat provides?

Wounded warriors often send words of appreciation. They’re families are grateful too. Sometimes they write letters. Sometimes they tell us in person. They let us know the huge impact our programs have on their lives.

Who pays for the services?

Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors can offer this healing service to wounded warriors free because of our generous donors.

Our brave, wounded warriors sustained their injuries while they defended our freedom and way of life. They put their lives on the line for complete strangers. Heartbeat and its supporters firmly believe we owe it to our heroes and their brave families to help them heal.

What is therapeutic scuba diving?

Therapeutic scuba diving is an activity that helps patients improve muscle strength, mobility, cardiovascular strength, blood flow, confidence, and psychological well-being. It decreases pain significantly. This popular, rehabilitative activity has produced positive results for many years.

Scuba diving professionals use therapeutic diving for many injuries: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), limb loss, and spinal cord injuries are just a few.

Certified and experienced scuba diving professionals work with wounded warriors’ health care providers—doctors and licensed physical, occupational, and speech therapists—to ensure the best results for each individual. The diving professionals have experience working with the wounded.

How does therapeutic scuba diving work?

Therapeutic scuba diving is a unique healing activity because water reduces the forces of gravity, which are hard on the body. Water offers a weightless and cushioning environment that gently supports muscles and limbs. This allows patients to use body parts previously too painful to move—injuries seem to disappear. This offers a liberation not found on land.

At the same time that water is gentle on the body, it also presents some resistance to movement, as anyone who has swum under water knows. For wounded warriors, this is an opportunity to increase muscle strength with less pain.

In the Scuba Warriors program, adaptive equipment is available for patients who need extra support. Supervisors provide underwater guidance for added safety.

What are the benefits of therapeutic scuba diving?

Heartbeat’s therapeutic scuba diving can help wounded warriors improve many areas of their health:

  • Motor skills
  • Muscle strength
  • Blood flow
  • Cardiovascular strength
  • Pain reduction
  • Mobility
  • Psychological well-being
  • Confidence

Changes in water pressure sometimes move shrapnel to a safer place in the body for surgical removal. Sometimes it even leaves the body on its own.

How does therapeutic scuba diving help emotionally?

Painful, major injuries dramatically change warriors’ roles in their jobs, in their families, and in society. Sometimes they can no longer contribute. This is devastating to natural protectors, who push themselves to extremes, take charge, and perform courageous acts daily. One result is isolation.

Scuba diving, unlike many therapeutic activities, requires a buddy system. This social side of diving fights the long-term, damaging effects of social separation.

The underwater environment is also an opportunity for wounded warriors to realize how capable they are. Disabilities seem to disappear as they experience pain-free movement for the first time. The wounded warrior’s newfound success contributes to positive, lifelong changes. Everyone benefits: warrior, family, and society.

How does someone qualify for help?

A wounded warrior qualifies for Heartbeat’s Scuba Warriors program when a health care provider approves this course of treatment for the individual patient. The provider—an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, or doctor—must be familiar with the service member’s case.

The provider completes an approval form and sends it to Heartbeat. A wounded warrior, family member, or provider can make the initial call to Heartbeat.

The Scuba Warrior program is open to all GWOT Wounded Warriors free of charge. We are located in WA state. If you are OUTSIDE WA state you would still be welcome to come to the program,I am sorry, at this time we can not afford to pay for travel though.

How can I volunteer?

Thank you for giving your time and your skills to this life-changing program. Your help brings joy and healing into the lives of our heroic, wounded warriors and their families.

Please contact Janice Buckley, Heartbeat president, for more information about volunteering. You may also complete our volunteer application without contacting us first.

 

Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors: Let the Healing Begin...