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A revolutionary approach to rehabilitation through Scuba Diving

SOME INFORMATION ABOUT DEPTHERAPY

We have been asked by several people to give some more explanation of what the Deptherapy Foundation is all about.

Put most simply, the Deptherapy Foundation exists to service the development of the Deptherapy programme.

At present the programme is delivered in twice-yearly modules in the world’s largest diving centre, Key Largo in Florida. On April 29, 2009, three British soldiers including former Royal Marine Matt Croucher, GC, who famously won his medal for leaping on a grenade to save his colleagues, will fly to Key Largo to join a dozen ex-service personnel from the US Marines and especially the 101st Airborne Division, the famous Screaming Eagles. This is the first time troops from both the USA and UK have joined the programme, which this time is being called the Deptherapy Challenge.

Matt Croucher still suffers from the physical after-effects of his heroic exploits. But he is determined to to become the first Briton to be trained in the programme in order that he can become a Deptherapy instructor.

The other two Britons are Steve Hands, who was badly wounded in the spine during his service, and Dominic Lovett, paralysed from the neck down in a training accident. Lovett’s case is unique – he is attempting to become the first tetraplegic veteran to undertake a diving course and will do so with the aid of a state-of-the-art face mask designed by the Oceanic company working with Fraser Bathgate. Lovett will be accompanied at all times by a carer – the Foundation’s watchword is safety, and even though expert medical advice is being provided by the American hosts, it was felt that a carer would be necessary for Lovett.

All of them will undergo ten days of an unusual but highly effective form of intensive therapy – a scuba diving programme called Deptherapy, pioneered by Fraser Bathgate from Edinburgh who himself has been paralysed from the waist down since the age of 23.

Tried and tested, and already producing impressive results, Deptherapy has already changed lives immeasurably for the better. The co-founders of the Deptherapy Foundation aim to extend its benefits to other ex-service personnel in the first instance.

The next module involving British veterans is set for October at Key Largo and the medium-term aim is to take a British-American expedition to the Cayman Islands next year. The long-term aim of the Deptherapy Foundation is to finance and organise regular therapeutic trips to warm water scuba-diving venues for former servicemen and servicewomen who will benefit from the unique and successful qualities of the Deptherapy Programme.

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