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Paralyzed Young Man Learns to Scuba Dive

(DiverWire) Josh Davies, 21, was paralyzed less than a year and half ago, and is now a certified scuba diver.

The young man worked as a farmer, and was cutting down an old ash tree on the family homestead in Wales when the unthinkable occurred. The 10-ton tree landed on his back, crushing multiple vertebrae and paralyzing him from the waist down.

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“The tree came back on me and that was that,” said Davies, to the British Sub-Aqua Club during an interview.  ““I used to play rugby and all sorts of sports and have always been an outdoor sort of person. I was absolutely devastated when I found out . . . I was paralyzed and would never walk again.”

From there, Davies says he realized that his active lifestyle wouldn’t necessarily have to end, and went about learning how to scuba dive. Davies has just passed the Ocean Diver certification, and is shooting for his Sports Diver certification next. The Ocean Diver certification was particular difficult – passing it required a rescue demonstration, which had Davies pulling a fellow diver not only to the surface, but to a safe location as well.

His condition brings a number of diving challenges. Davies says putting a wetsuit on can be difficult, and that keeping warm is a real concern. Because of the lack of circulation in his legs, he’s using fewer muscles, which means he isn’t fighting off the cold as well. It’s also difficult for him to feel his legs, so keeping track of his temperature is also an issue.

Determined to move to the next level of diving, Davies has inspired the British Sub-Aqua Club to help raise funds to give him warm-water dive training in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, bringing him another step closer to his Sport Diver certification.

“I couldn’t let it get me down,” says Davies, about his accident and his future in scuba diving. “And while I’m still learning to come to terms with things and also learning how to simply survive in a wheelchair, I’m getting there and diving has certainly helped.”