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May 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Yes, Sport Divers Get PTSD, Too

hereís how to determine whether youíre in that bunch

from the May, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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A bad scare such as almost running out of air, witnessing another person suffer a heart-attack underwater, or even being incapacitated by severe leg cramps, can make a diver hang up his or her fins forever. When you've witnessed someone recovered from the water but unsuccessfully resuscitated, the aftermath could make you reassess whether it's worth it to keep on diving.

Experienced divers can sometimes underestimate the stress a new diver goes through, and there are plenty of divers who haven't been battle-hardened by the slings and arrows of misfortune that await anyone involved in this adventurous activity.

In short, we divers should be more aware of simple post-traumatic stress disorder (Simple PTSD) that can affect all of us, says James A. Lapenta, a veteran dive instructor who runs UDM Aquatic Services in Canonsburg, PA, and has created multiple technical diving courses. Lapenta has also written two books on diver training and safety, and in his most recent one, SCUBA: A Practical Guide to Advanced Level Training, Volume 2, he states that PTSD is a real possibility for those who have just been involved with a life-or-death situation in a recreational dive setting. Accidents that seem to have only caused injury to a diver's ego may actually have deeper, more damaging effects on all divers involved.

Below is an excerpt from Lapenta's book about PTSD....


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