Diveheart Opens New Worlds with Adaptive Scuba Therapy

Cure Medical (CureMedical.com)
5 June 2017

The vision of Diveheart is to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring them to take on challenges that they may not have considered before. Using zero gravity and the adventure paradigm, we help participants believe that if they can scuba dive they can do anything.

Scuba diving helps build self-confidence and self-esteem and even may improve the diver’s mobility and give some relief from pain. We call it scuba therapy.

Diveheart was founded by Jim Elliott in 2001, although he had already been working with people with disabilities for several years. Jim’s daughter, Erin, was born blind and struggled to become a part of the community. But, all that changed when Jim heard about adaptive downhill skiing. Erin began participating and Jim joined a parent group who worked with people with disabilities on downhill skiing, and he also became a guide for blind skiers.

An Idea is Born: Adaptive Scuba Therapy

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Paralyzed Barefoot Water Skier Goes Scuba Diving (Girls that Scuba)

Paralyzed teen shows the world it’s still possible to scuba dive

Girls that Scuba (blog)
21 March 2017

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My accident happened while training for the U.S. Barefoot Nationals. I had been competing and winning at the national level for several years. There are three events – tricks, slalom and jump. I was the defending national champion in tricks and runner up in slalom in 2013. I had decided to add jump to my resume in 2014. I was with my coach one week before the tournament, basically just touching up my trick run and decided a few more jumps would build my confidence. Then, while my coach and teammates watched from our boat, I tripped on the water and at 43mph and hit the jump head first. I immediately knew I was injured and fearful for my life. I had broken my neck in several places and my right arm was disfigured. I was physically unable to help myself, but my mind was alert the entire time.

After months of physical therapy I was introduced to adaptive sports-something that both motivated and scared me! It was during this transition to my new normal that I met Sarah Arends-Repka and Scott Alm. Scott suggested I try SCUBA, my first reaction was, “Are you crazy? Six months after nearly drowning and you want me to do WHAT?”. A few weeks later I was introduced to Diveheart.org and decided I could not let the fear consume me any longer. I showed up at the pool and was diving within an hour! I was hooked.

Read the original article online (Girls that Scuba blog)

Training: Diveheart Adaptive Dive Training – South Florida (April 2017)

Diveheart Adaptive Dive Training – South Florida (April 2017)

April 24-29, 2017
Boynton Beach, Florida

Do you want to be part of an Adaptive Dive Team that helps divers with disabilities?
Imagine the Possibilities … Here is your opportunity!

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Adaptive Dive Training - Boynton, Florida (April 2017) - PDF

Deepest pool in the world may be built in Chicago area

Deepest pool in the world may be built in Chicago area

Chicago Tribune / Aurora Beacon-News
February 7, 2017
by Denise Crosby

Diveheart, founded by Jim Elliott in 2001, has created an impressive name for itself throughout the country by helping those with illnesses and disabilities discover the therapeutic wonders that this underwater activity can provide.

Jim Elliott’s goal: to build what he said would be the world’s deepest warm-water pool – 150 feet, to be exact – at the corner of Broadway and North Avenue that would be used for research, rehabilitation, education and training.

For those with limited mobility, the benefits of physical therapy in a zero gravity environment is well-documented. And more recent research from leading universities, including Johns Hopkins, shows that scuba diving has unique effects on the minds and bodies of those with many types of disabilities, including chronic pain, spinal cord paralysis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, PTSD and brain injuries.

Diveheart volunteers teach members of the DuPage County Veterans Center the basics of scuba diving in a recent class at the Fox Valley Park District Vaughan Center in Aurora.

Read entire story online (Chicago Tribune / Aurora Beacon-News)

Distinguished Alumni: Jim Elliott (The Courier – DuPage College student newspaper)

Distinguished Alumni: Jim Elliott (The Courier – DuPage College student newspaper)

Jim Elliott
Then: Sports reporter, class of ‘77

Now: Founder and President of Diveheart. Honored as the West Suburban Philanthropic Network Humanitarian of the Year.

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Jim Elliott attended COD as a journalism major, covering the state championship-winning hockey team for the Courier. After graduation he was offered a job at the Chicago Tribune and moved to radio and television. Elliott followed a 20- year dream in 2001 when he founded his non-profit, Diveheart, where he works every day without collecting a salary. Elliott is a noted Rotarian and has been featured in Money magazine, Success magazine, CNN, ABC7 and more.

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Diveheart’s Dive Therapy (Out Front Magazine)

Diveheart’s Dive Therapy (Out Front Magazine)

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A simple truth guides the work of Diveheart, an Illinois-based nonprofit group whose mission is to help disabled individuals through scuba diving: We’re all equal under the water.

It’s more than a moral truth; it’s a scientific truth, according to Jim Elliott, Diveheart’s founder and president.

“This is the only sport in the world that has no gravity,” Elliott said. “Our divers with disabilities find that they can move body parts that they’ve never been able to move before.”

Elliott left a successful career in media in 2001 to pursue Diveheart as a full-time volunteer. Diveheart, a 501©3 not-for-profit, provides scuba diving instruction and experiences to children and adults with disabilities and wounded veterans, around the world. The organization seeks to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring the to take on challenges that they may not have considered before. [More … Read the PDF]

Listen: Half Century Later, Diver Revisits Statue He Helped Place (WLRN Miami S. Florida)

Listen: Half Century Later, Diver Revisits Statue He Helped Place (WLRN Miami S. Florida)

By Nancy Klingener – Aug 18, 2016
WLRN Miami/S. Florida

Gabriel Spataro was instrumental in placing an Italian statue, cast from the same mold as Genoa’s Christ of the Abyss, in the waters off Key Largo.

That was in 1965. Recently Spataro revisited the statue, which is locally referred to as Christ of the Deep.

“Today, when I went diving on it, it hit my soul and I felt really good,” said Spataro.

He suffers from macular degeneration but said he could still see the statue – and how different it looks with decades of coral growth.

“There’s coral and things growing on the statue. But the basic thing, with those arms reaching out and looking up at the sky, even though all the coral and that is on it, it still has that impression,” Spataro said. “It’s a personal feeling that you get between yourself and the statue.”

Spataro has returned to the statue several times in recent years with Diveheart, a group that helps people with disabilities go scuba diving.

See & listen on WLRN website (Miami/S. Florida)

Diving Past Boundaries: Scuba as Therapy (CNN)

Diving Past Boundaries: Scuba as Therapy (CNN / Great Big Story)

At first glance, scuba diving may seem a surprising therapy for people with severe cognitive and physical disorders. But as Jim Elliott, founder of the non-profit Diveheart knows, diving can be a potent treatment. Participants find they not only experience freedom from the obstacles they face on land, but also relief from chronic pain, increased mobility, and most importantly, a boost in self-esteem.



Watch on Great Big Story site (CNN)
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